Old school produce

  • photo submitted by Tonya Agan

    Emily Dela Torre stops for a photo at the new raised garden beds for Kauai Care Center residents.

WAIMEA — Hannah Raposas, Mikey Ladera and the rest of the residents out at Kauai Care Center are gardening again.

For some of them, it’s been years since they got their hands in the dirt. For many, it’s been a lifelong passion. And thanks to the Rotary Club of West Kauai, gardening is at their fingertips once more.

Rotary members built two wheelchair accessible raised garden beds at Kauai Care Center, and now residents are harvesting produce for their dinner table.

“We already harvested beets, peas and lettuce,” said Raposas. “It’s good. We are currently repotting our eggplant and okra.”

Supplies for the raised garden beds were purchased by West Kauai Rotary. Ricky Fernandez, maintenance supervisor at Kauai Care Center, and James Hasenyager, contractor and Rotary member, designed the boxes.

Then, Rotary members made a trip to Kauai Care Center to assemble and paint the garden boxes. The finished products include lining, irrigation and sunshades. Rotary also donated soil and heirloom seeds to get the residents started.

Kauai Care Center resident Cosme Amulacion took up the position of lead gardener for the center, and activities director Tonya Agan says he’s taken great pride in both gardens.

“He told me it brings back so many good memories,” Agan said.

“Gardening has always been my favorite pastime,” Amulacion said. “(It) gives me encouragement, purpose and helps me to ease my mind.”

He says he even sings to his vegetables and enjoys watching them grow.

“To see them grow is the way people grow; the more you grow the happier you are,” he said.

Agan says the garden beds fit right in with the Kauai Care Center’s mission to help residents recognize their self-worth and accomplishments while promoting a sense of dignity.

The goal is to create an environment at Kauai Care Center that’s enriching, with a focus on health and wellness, and overall fulfillment.

“Our residents deserve it,” she said.

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