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Roots and Shoots, An Intergenerational Garden

Articles: Roots and Shoots, An Intergenerational Garden

I got to love gardening. The senior garden volunteers made everything fun. I learned a lot from them.
Brook, 5th Grade, Walter Hays Elementary School

Friendships mark the Roots and Shoots program. Photographs by Kiyomi Masantani

It is a warm sunny day in October and the Elizabeth F Gamble Garden in Palo Alto is abuzz with parents pushing strollers, pre-schoolers chasing butterflies, artists painting scenes of a pumpkin patch and twenty third graders working in the Roots and Shoots Intergenerational Garden.

The Roots and Shoots garden has become a model for how school children and seniors can work together to make a garden grow. Every week third graders from Walter Hays Elementary School walk to the garden where they are met by their senior volunteer mentors. Together, the children and volunteers spend almost an hour and a half together planting, nurturing, and harvesting a garden full of edibles and colorful flowers. They may be planting seeds or weeding, or checking the broccoli for harvesting. If it’s ready, they will eat it as part of their snack that day; any excess will be shared with the Ecumeni...

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