At the beginning of this summer, several residents at our Golden Valley campus entered into dialogue with members of our Golden Valley programming department. The vision of creating a set of raised garden beds on the grounds of our Golden Valley site was shared and after a period of brainstorming and consideration, an action plan was created with the insight from both staff and residents.

After purchasing the supplies that were initially needed to move forward, a resident with experience in construction helped cut and piece together the lumber into a pair of roughly 4 by 10 foot long garden beds. After filling the beds with soil, residents chose an assortment of greens to plant in each bed. In the first garden bed, several kinds of tomato plants were chosen (Big Boys, Cherry and Roma tomatoes). These were paired with several smaller green pepper plants. In the second bed, the residents coordinating the gardening project decided to plant a variety of seedlings. Rows of lettuce, radishes, cucumbers and even cantaloupe were planted just below the surface of the soil. As of this week (August 1st), we can see the tops of the carrot crops and other plants beginning to burst through the dirt. The tomatoes are large and plump, but still need time to ripen.

Projects like this bring a great deal of joy to our residents and our staff. They give an opportunity for the men to steward something of their own. Hobbies like gardening require patience, diligence and care. These are all values that are connected to the inner and outer transformation of an individual. Because of that, we see gardening as a wonderful outlet that provides more than just physical nutrition and nourishment. It nourishes the mind, the body and our spirit.