Innovative Health Solutions, a public health nonprofit organization, announced a plan to support older adult health and food security by leading the implementation of a food forest in Solano County with funds provided by Napa/Solano Area Agency on Aging using the Cal Fresh Healthy Living Grant. The urban agroforestry system will yield fresh fruits and vegetables and provide space for physical activity programming for 135 low-income older adults at Parkway Plaza a low-income older adult apartment community located in Fairfield, CA.
Innovative Health Solutions is collaborating with Sustainable Solano on this effort to execute health-centered, environmental changes that will benefit the older adult community. This pocket of sustenance will contain fruit trees, planting berms, and integrated seating areas. It is an opportunity to protect not only the physical health of older adults but also their mental and emotional wellbeing.
“More than ever after this unprecedented past year, we are excited to bring our community back together,” said Jenalee Dawson, Social Services Coordinator at Parkway Plaza “Innovative Health Solutions and Sustainable Solano have brought the opportunity to not only grow food but also grow a community by reconnecting residents who have been sheltered at home and isolated. The many benefits of this gardening project will extend beyond food security, as the garden will provide fresh vegetables, space for physical exercise and social relationships will be strengthened through this community gardening project.”
“I think it will unify people,” explained Martha Farr, resident of Parkway Plaza. “Everybody needs a little garden; it gives them something that is their own.”
Martha wakes up early most days to tend to her gardening box – she tells stories of eating fresh chiles, but also of using her garden to bridge unlikely connections between residents. This summer, Martha will sow seeds in the food forest, planting new veggies, and strengthening relationships.