Shannon Gibney showcases some of the fruits of her labour in the Trout Lake Tertiary Mental Health Rehab Unit's Oasis Garden. (photo: Evergreen)
We interviewed Shannon Gibney, Recreation Therapist at the Trout Lake Tertiary Mental Health Rehab Unit (TRU) in East Vancouver, about the Evergreen and Kashi supported Oasis Garden.
Here’s our Q & A.
Q: Who is responsible for maintaining the garden at TRU?
A: We do not have volunteers of our own, but several of our residents tend to the garden on a daily and weekly basis, usually supported by staff.
Q: What do you think your residents take away from working in the garden?
A: I believe it contributes to them having a sense of purpose and individual responsibility. They are particularly enthusiastic when staff from Evergreen show up for one of their workshops.
Q: What do the residents learn in the Evergreen workshops?
A: They learn much from them about plants, how to install them, how to maintain the health of the garden, and most importantly what fruits and vegetables will eventually become available for snacking on!
Q: Why do you think it’s important to have a vegetable garden at a facility like TRU?
A: Some residents seek solitude in the garden. As you can imagine, things can get quite hectic and noisy with all the residents and staff in a fairly small indoor space; sometimes they just need to get out for a breather.
Q: What do you like most about the garden?
A: I love the calm, relaxed feeling in the garden, which is a welcome escape from a rather institutional feeling inside the building.
Q: What’s next for the Oasis Garden?
A: We’re preparing for an upcoming BBQ lunch in the garden, celebrating the eight years our facility has been open. Residents are looking forward to showing off this beautiful space to their friends and family attending.
Residents of the facility enjoy activities outdoors in their garden. (photo: Evergreen)
Learn more about the Plant it Forward initiative and how you can get closer to real food at home by visiting the Kashi webssite. If you’re interested in volunteering with Evergreen, make sure to check out community greening or other projects near you.
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