harvest, cook and eat together

Food and drink are a really important part of any gardening session.

At the start, volunteers, participants and staff might like to have a cup of tea or coffee together as people arrive.

During the session, ‘eat what you pick’ can be a way of celebrating the connection between growing and eating, and is a meaningful and rewarding activity for everyone.

The food can also be a focus for coming together after the gardening activities as group members enjoy a meal together.

I'm waiting for the strawberries!

I like the broccoli

The preparing of food is always fun for people of all abilities to get stuck into, for example, peeling broad beans or preparing artichokes.

Invite everyone to participate in preparing the meal using – as much as possible – ingredients found in the garden. Work out ahead of time how any extra ingredients will be paid for.

Find out about the different tastes and dietary requirements of the group, for example, people from culturally and linguistically diverse groups may have different food preferences. Some people may want to bring their own food (say sandwiches) and this can work for people who need familiar food to feel comfortable.

Practical tips

Which plants are winners?

– fruit trees
– strawberries
– herbs such as mint and ones that flower too

Where can you cook in the garden?

– fire pit
– pizza oven

Find out more

This guide from Alzheimer’s Australia (now known as Dementia Australia) presents a Montessori approach to a wide range of simple activities for people with dementia, including activities focused on food and plants (see pp39-52), most of which are suitable to do outdoors.
This is a practical introduction to involving people with dementia in food preparation, including ways to go about it and suggestions for conversation about food.
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