By Erin G.

With funding from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), JEVS Integrated Behavioral Health began a special project: a community garden. Program participants work together to care for the plants and enjoy the green space. 

Building a Garden at Orleans Technical College  

When the City of Philadelphia DBHIDS granted JEVS one-time funding to create the garden, many JEVS programs worked together to make it possible. The Design Lab, at Orleans Technical College, a program of JEVS Human Services, helped participants design and print their own pots. This experience gave them the opportunity to visit the design workroom and see how 3D printing works. Students and staff in the Carpentry Program at Orleans Tech supported the project and built raised garden beds. This joint effort shows how many people come together to support, use, and benefit from the garden.  

Nurturing Wellness Through Gardening 

The community garden is a place to grow vegetables, and it’s also a peaceful place where people can relax and connect with nature. Being outside, meeting other people, and getting sunshine benefit overall health. Each individual contributes to the garden’s success. Participants plant seeds, weed the beds, water the plants, and harvest the produce. This hands-on involvement builds confidence and self-esteem.  

Helping Others and Fostering Community Connections 

The garden provides fresh food for people in community living and behavioral health programs. When there’s extra produce, participants share it with people in independent living programs who can’t easily leave their homes. They are proud of working in the garden and of giving back by sharing produce with those who need it. It saves money, promotes healthy eating, and fosters a sense of community among them. Working together in the garden builds friendships and strengthens connections. If you want to help or find out more about the community garden, get in touch! Together, we make our community better. 

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