Downtown Eastside grandmas plant seeds, grow more than garden vegetables
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One of the gardeners cited the importance of providing fresh vegetables to senior citizens with a steady income.
“The seniors in Chinatown don’t have a lot of money, so I don’t have a lot of fresh food,” she said. “A lot of the groceries seniors get at the grocery bank are not fresh and sometimes have expired. I get fresh vegetables in the garden. “
When the vegetables are ready to be harvested, the seniors meet and split the bounty equally.
Sometimes, narrator Feng said, they sell vegetables at the farmer’s market or come together to make dumplings.
One woman said she could meet friends in the garden and learn to communicate with each other. For example, Ms. Quan, she is from the south and I am from the north, the distance is so far. Now we are friends and can communicate. Friendship is very important as seniors – so that we don’t get lonely. “
The Poh-Pohs are extremely practical.
“If we didn’t have a garden, we’d only be on our phones or on TV and wouldn’t even be playing sports.”
They also appreciate their garden friends very much.
“This experience of everyone communicating and taking care of one another is very difficult to come by,” said one of the women. “So I appreciate it.”
As the narrator put it to end the podcast, “It starts with a simple act of planting a few seeds, but the harvest is friendship and fellowship.”
The garden project is a collaboration between the Carnegie Seniors Program, led by Doris Chow, and the DTES Neighborhood House Seniors Program, led by Simin Sun.
The Roots and Seeds podcast with interviews by Veronique West is available in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Details at playwrightstheatre.com.
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