Pam Weishaupt is the community garden coordinator for Maple City Health Care Center. This year, the health center is moving the garden to their second location at Vista Community Health Center. Pam is excited for more space, and the opportunities that come with having a larger garden.
Pam enjoys interacting with patients and neighbors that come to work in the garden. She offers them new techniques, and different ways of trying the foods that are planted. Opening up a space where people are welcome to come and grow their own food is empowering, she described. “When you can broaden the possibilities of what goes on the dinner table - and it’s all grown in this small plot of land - that gives me hope for the future.”
She particularly enjoys working with people who haven’t spent time in the garden before. “It is an honor to be present when a gardener experiences that first harvest, that first taste of something they chose to grow.” Pam has observed that participants often gain a new connection to the food they eat when they are able to grow it themselves. “It is empowering to be able to grow your own food, and to be a little less dependent on the local grocery store.”
Pam acknowledged that, for some, it is a challenge to dedicate time to the garden on a regular basis. “When it's not outside your back door, it does shift how you relate with it,” said Weishaupt. However, it takes community effort to support the garden, and the mutual relationships that are grown there will sustain it.
Where others see blighted property in Goshen, Pam envisions gardens sprouting up, providing a place where people are welcome to come and eat. "We have so many options here in our community, and yet we have people who are hungry." Some may feel uncomfortable taking from a garden that they did not help cultivate, but Pam envisions community gardens that are free and inviting for all. "I don't think there's anything radical about helping people figure out how to feed themselves,” she said.
The Community garden helps Maple City Health Care Center accomplish its mission to foster a healthy community. In addition to primary care, the center offers chronic disease management, behavioral health, obstetrical care, eye care, dental care, healthy living groups, and nutrition services.