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Cultivate Cochrane: Mobile Greenhouse bridges generations

In this month's column, Cultivate Cochrane director Jacke Skrypnek touts the positive impacts of the Passive Solar Roller and the Seniors for Kids volunteer program.

The Greenhouse Launch and Community Growing Fair last month was a wildly successful event, kicking off spring and Cultivate Cochrane’s education greenhouse on wheels.

Community members flocked to get a peek inside the Passive Solar Roller, learn from presenters, engage with local groups and businesses, and even participate in a plein air art workshop. It’s evident Cochranites are eager to be part of a more resilient community and way of life!

Now that our greenhouse is out and about in town accompanied by our talented program coordinator, one of the groups taking advantage of it is Seniors for Kids. Celebrating their 25th year in our community, this volunteer group pairs seniors with children from elementary to high school who don’t have a grandparent in the area. They aim for pairings that last two years so the kids have a feeling of consistency and a richer bond can develop.

It’s a way of building intergenerational relationships that boost self-esteem, skills and understanding – the benefits run both ways! Most Seniors for Kids programs happen at schools within the Cochrane area and that’s where the Passive Solar Roller will meet them, providing a great way for these senior-youth connections to flourish.

Seniors for Kids program coordinator Lynn Noble feels the mobile greenhouse will facilitate the passing on of knowledge from their volunteers, many of whom garden and/or live rurally, to a generation that mostly hasn’t grown up on farms.

“Seniors can share their wisdom…and it’s important for kids to learn how to grow food; to know that you don’t just go to the grocery store for it,” Noble said.

Being equipped to feed ourselves in our climate means building our skills and knowledge, but also growing our community connections. Both of those can happen when the older and more experienced among us meet the up-and-coming generation. And what better place to do it than around a little greenhouse full of soil, veggies, herbs and flowers?

If you see the Passive Solar Roller parked outside St. Tim’s, Elizabeth Barrett, or Fireside schools in the coming weeks, there’s a good chance it’s there to help this intergenerational sharing happen. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child…but it also takes a village to make that village resilient and connected.

We can thank Seniors for Kids for doing their part and we look forward to many more fruitful partnerships across the age spectrum!

Jackie Skrypnek is a director with Cultivate Cochrane. Find more information and updates at cultivatecochrane.com