Community Cooperation Leads to Riverfront Garden Expansion
La Crosse, WI- Riverfront participants will enjoy expanded gardening space this summer, thanks to the generous support of the La Crosse community. Donations to the expansion include a $13,765 grant from the Franke Foundation, a $5,000 in-kind donation of goods and services from Fowler & Hammer, a $1,000 donation from the Rotary Works Foundation, and the volunteer services of the local Retired Senior Volunteer Program (R.S.V.P.). Labor for the project installation will be provided via collaboration with WisCorps.
Major work on the expansion will take place Monday, June 24th through Friday, June 28th at Riverfront’s facility at 3000 South Avenue, La Crosse, WI. The expansion will increase accessibility to the ground gardens and to the raised beds installed through last year’s collaboration of the La Crosse Community Foundation’s grant from the Mary Grace Sieber Fund and Viterbo and R.S.V.P. volunteers. The expansion will allow more participants to be involved in Riverfront’s food to table programming.
“We are very appreciative of the donations that have made this possible. This gift contributes to the quality of life for so many of our participants,” said president and CEO Marcia Jagodzinske. “We at Riverfront work to promote healthy living through hands-on learning. Participants will expand their awareness of the vegetables available to them and learn how to prepare them in appealing ways. They will learn how to prepare the gardens and care for plants. They will experience the sense of pride and awe that comes with gardening. They will probably decide that rabbits aren’t nearly as cute as they thought they were.”
The Franke Foundation and Rotary Works Foundation funds will be used to provide additional gardening opportunities via:
- Accessible greenhouse
- Three-bin compost system
- Ground garden with fence
- Accessible trails
- Gardening tools
- Watering system
Fowler & Hammer donated material for the accessible trails in garden area, and the labor and materials for a connecting concrete sidewalk and R.S.V.P. volunteers will complete the project by building benches and tables in the greenhouse.
The gardens provide Riverfront participants the opportunity to actively engage in therapeutic horticulture, which is the purposeful use of plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group. For individuals with disabilities, it provides particular benefits including the development and/or improvement of communication and social skills, fitness, confidence, well-being, physical ability, nutrition, knowledge, and enjoyment of life.
Therapeutic horticulture can help individuals with disabilities to recover from a wide range of conditions or a difficult time in their lives; help learn new skills to improve the chances of living independently or finding employment; improve mental health through a sense of purpose and achievement; learn how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility; and/or connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation or exclusion.