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RE: Be sure that your garden is conducive to participation byhandicapped folks

  • Subject: [cg] RE: Be sure that your garden is conducive to participation byhandicapped folks
  • From: "Alliums" garlicgrower@green-logic.com
  • Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 12:33:29 -0500
  • Thread-index: AcYiJpAyiGI5XdFFRuqJqZoPc6cXYgAdBg3w

Hi, Folks!

As a "not visible to the naked eye, yet disabled just the same" person, I'd
like to not-so-gently remind everyone (because I'm "disagreeable" -- see
post in December! ;-)) that just because a person isn't in a wheelchair,
doesn't mean that they aren't "handicapped" -- and that with a few
accommodations, can't be an integral part of any community garden -- and
should be given an enthusiastic welcome even though "wheel-chair accessible
beds" aren't what their disability requires.

One of our newest, but most dedicated gardeners is a young autistic woman
who loves gardening and does it very well, but didn't work out in a Camphill
community because she missed her family too much.  Her family considers the
community garden a lifesaver because it gives her a place to go every day in
season where she is safe and can work productively.  

Our oldest gardener (78) is a Vietnam vet with two, behind-the-lines tours
that left him with all sorts of pieces of metal in interesting places in his

Several years ago, USA Today published a study that found that ADD and ADHD
kids do better in outdoor settings.  Both Chester County Juvenile Probation
and the St. Gabriel's Hall have found this to be true and many, if not most
of the adjudicated youth who are sent to us for community service suffer
from either (or both) of these disorders.

As gardeners age, many of them have back difficulties.  Paring them on "bad
days" or for certain tasks with the adjudicated youth gets the job done,
teaches the youth new skills and truly builds community.

It ain't all about wheel-chair accessible beds.  Most of the time, it's
about patience, quietly helping each other out when someone is in a rough
patch and maintaining an atmosphere of tolerance for the foibles of fellow
human beings (which doesn't mean forebearing from forcibly reprimanding the

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden and Labyrinth

A mission of 
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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