Gardening for a happier and healthier community
Gila River Indian News
On a breezy 85-degree morning on Saturday, June 8, 20 men and boys gathered at the District 6 Tribal Health Department’s Community Garden for a gardening workshop. This event was one part of many coordinated by the Akimel O’otham Pee Posh Men’s Group in June celebrating Men’s Health Awareness Month. These events are for men to learn more about their own wellness while building new relations within the Community for support.
Michael Mercado, Tribal Health Department, helped to coordinate this event along with the rest of the events throughout the month. Mercado said, “the interest for the gardening event came from the understanding of the Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh history with agriculture.” His goal is to help build an understating of cultural history while learning more about our health and how our food plays a role. Workshops like this will expose Community members to new aspects of their health, and the men’s group also wants to ensure participants learn about resources currently available to them.
David Van Druff was the invited speaker to provide guidance and instruction for those in attendance. Van Druff shared critical aspects of successful planting in containers that will yield diverse crops in a small space. This strategy is excellent for first-time gardeners as it will also keep out critters from eating plants. The containers utilized in the District 6 gardens are about 25 gallons, which makes it easy to plant a variety of crops that will complement one another.
Along with the guidance and instructions, the conversations were as valuable among the participants. During the breaks, many shared stories of hiking and picking from wild shrubs to eat. Others began picking mesquite bean pods that were ripe, opening them and sharing the beans for all to taste. Door prizes for the participants included seeds, terra cotta pots, and cooling cloths.
Men’s Group will be hosting a Wellness Walk in District 5 on June 22. Also, closing out the month will be the Men’s Conference on June 29 at the District 5 Multipurpose Building.