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2015 annual report

Garden serves as program foundation

Winona County

Two people gardening in raised bed garden

Tending a garden often has cognitive, psychological, social and physical benefits. That’s why Winona Occupational Rehabilitation Center (WORC), which provides job opportunities for individuals with disabilities, is using raised bed gardens as a foundation for a therapeutic program. The program, known as SET (Skills, Education and Training), helps clients further develop vocational, personal and social abilities to succeed in the workplace and everyday life.

Master Gardeners and SET clients worked together in every phase of gardening during the 2015 growing season: planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting. Short classes were led by Master Gardeners nearly every week on seeds, soil, how plants grow, weeding, watering and insects. The accessible, adjustable garden beds provided opportunity for hands-on learning—and plenty of fun too!

Clients diligently watched over the vegetables throughout the season, and they were rewarded with delicious vegetables to sample and use in a related educational cooking program, which reinforced the importance of vegetables in a healthy diet. 2015 was the first year of this project, and the WORC plans to continue it.

WORC published in their newsletter, "The Winona Master Gardeners have helped from the beginning, and we are extremely thankful for all of their help and expertise."

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