What began as a way for the residents of Bristol Manor of Sedalia to remain active has turned into a bountiful feast for those who live at the residential care facility.
The nine residents at the facility planted a garden in April and have now started to harvest some of the produce that they then enjoy as part of their diet.
“When I started here in April as the administrator, the previous administrator wanted to have a garden here,” Bristol Manor Administrator Stacy Roberts said. “The residents had asked her about the possibility and it seemed like something they really wanted to do.
“Before she left she and I started the project with the help of the residents,” she added. “Now I am just starting to get some of the first crops out to use in their meals here.”
The assisted living facility provides three meals and a snack to the residents each day that are prepared by Roberts and her staff.
“We all have the same meals,” Roberts said. “The residents who are with us now are real meat and potatoes eaters, they really enjoy that.
“If I fix that with a vegetable they are really happy, of course they do like their desserts too, but we watch what they eat and monitor their diets,” she added. “One thing we do have to do is add lots of spices to the food because they seem to like the taste of them.”
The garden is planted with cabbage, peppers, potatoes, green beans, squash, onions and tomatoes and so far, the residents have been enjoying the scallions with several of their meals.
“They always try to have a lot of activities for us here,” resident Edna Abney said. “I think we all got tired of the glue and paper stuff and so we decided to try and plant some seeds indoors in flats.
“They all came up but one kind and so we said ‘What do we do with them now?’” Abney added. “Well, you know how one thing leads to another so we decided to plant a garden.”
Resident Randy Stevenson did much of the initial planting and work at the garden, which is adjacent to the residence.
All of the residents lend a hand in one way or another at the garden and they have received some outside help with some of the more difficult chores.
A member of Abney’s church, Scott McHenry, lead of the men’s ministry at New Hope Baptist Church, has volunteered to help keep the garden free of weeds.
“On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Edna’s son Chris called and asked me if I would be willing to help at the garden,” McHenry said. “We had just started the men’s ministry back up and one of the things we try to do is whenever we see a job that needs to be done we get out there and try to help.
“I noticed the weeds were starting to take over and so I decided I could take care of that,” he added. “It’s the way I was raised and so I came over to give them a hand.”
The residents not only appreciate McHenry but Roberts as well.
“I love to eat, plain and simple,” resident Thomas Arnold said. “Stacey is the best cook we’ve ever had here; she can make something out of nothing.
“If I had my way I’d make the garden even bigger,” he added with a smile after pulling one of the onions, cleaning it with his hand and taking a big bite.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484