In February at The All Hands Gathering, David Cook talked about how important it was we think about what it would mean to garden as we get older and how important it is we us the right tools. I am reflecting on this more and more during this Grow Appalachia season, at the end of October I had a crazy accident where I fell off my porch which required two surgeries.  I listened intently to David because at the time I had just had the plate removed from my wrist and hand but still had the plate in my arm and the screw in my elbow so I was not sure how much I would be able to do this growing season.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to garden as I once was able to and most likely not get back to my full mobility.

This makes me then think back to when we had started a community garden where several older women would walk down to the garden site, standing watching us as we worked talking about how much they had loved to garden and all of their fond memories being out their with their husbands and children working next to each other and neighbors stopping by to give advice and to share in the workload.  I would always go and get them a chair so they could sit under the tree out of the sun so they could sit telling their stories as we worked.  They would mention on several occasions how they wished they could garden once again

I look at our Grow participants, with a wide range of ages between them and listen to them they talk about sometimes how  difficult it is to breathe, or how their knees or back back give out and they want to call it quits or hang up their trowels and retreat indoors instead of letting them do that help them to become adaptive gardeners, which I am slowly learning to do.  Assist them with the proper tools, teach them how to bend correctly, help them to make their garden more accessible by building them raised bed  but whatever you do don’t discourage them from gardening, because the stories they tell will bring a smile to their face as well as yours.