Good morning to everyone – hope the weekend was a good one! Mine definitely started on the right foot last Friday, as I was able to volunteer and serve food with some other GMM staffers at a Senior Garden Party! This event was hosted by the partnership between our parent non-profit, OpenHand Atlanta, and TrulyLiving Well, which hosted the event at their Wheat Street Garden site.
Needless to say, it was a very nourishing day for this Customer Service Rep…and in more ways than one!
Nourishment #1: Setting foot into Truly Living Well’s Wheat Street Garden.
The last time my shoes were tracking farm dirt was when I was saying goodbye to the fine folk up in Waxhaw, N.C. It felt good to be back among raised beds, greenhouses, lots of herbs, and rows of crops. What is it about rows of crops that nourishes the soul? Probably even more so, when the backdrop is urban Atlanta. In short, it was a great start to a great morning.
By the time I arrived at the event to serve lunch, more than 250 of Atlanta’s senior citizens were already gathered and seated in the shade of large tents, overlooking the farm site and market stand.
Nourishment #2: A whole lot of wisdom and accumulated years and experiences in one place.
Seniors shared their memories about food sources of past decades – family gardens, community meals, home-cooking – and Rashid Nuri explained Truly Living Well’s attempt to bring fresh produce back to the inner city through its community-supported agriculture and educational programs.
Even Ms. Ricks, a centenarian guest who won a basket of veggies from Truly Living Well, took center stage to divulge her secrets to longevity: “Go to Sunday School! Praise the Lord! And get out and stay busy!”
So we talked about how the seniors can best take care of their health today, even through programs like Open Hand Atlanta’s freshly prepared, home-delivered meals and its core focus of Comprehensive Nutrition Care.
“What do you see when you look in this basket?” Charlotte Hayes, Open Hand’s Senior Director of Program and Policy Development, asked as she walked between the senior citizens seated under the tent.
They saw vegetables in the baskets. They saw health.
“Well, I see a rainbow,” Charlotte said about the colorful basketful, pulled straight out of the TLW garden.
Which brings me to Nourishment #3: That fresh, nutritious food.
Good nutrition leads to good health, and good nutrition comes from good food. Truly Living Well grows good food. And the Open Hand/Good Measure Meals chefs and dietitians know how to cook this good food right.
We served sautéed dark green Kale and Swiss Chard salad seasoned with garlic and lemon dressing. Tangy, sweet apple and cabbage slaw. Cous cous mixed into warm greens. Fresh potato salad. Bright red tomato sauce over chicken breasts. And on and on. The fruits of the harvest, so to speak.
And after the feasting, and after the learning, and after the strolling around the garden grounds, there was only one thing left to do: Dance.
Nourishment #4: The Cupid Shuffle.
This group was not ABOUT to call it quits after cleaning their plates. They danced, and danced, and danced, until buses arrived to escort them back home.
And naturally, we joined in.
Happy Monday, y’all! Visit your local farmers markets this week and eat to your good health. And definitely spend some time dancing with your senior friends.