CICOA Seeds Encourage Gardening

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Linda Daily remembers her parents working circles around her in the garden. She hated all the planting, weeding and picking, but it was a way of life for her Depression-era parents.   

“My family was the same,” Linda’s husband, Richard, chimed in. “I have four older sisters, and we were always fighting over food.” 

Richard’s dad planted a huge garden in the backyard at their Fortville home. If you wanted to eat, you could be assured you’d be hoeing the garden in the hot sun.  

Ironically, Linda and Richard now spend most of their spare time in the gardens at their Fairland home in Shelby County. It’s a team project. Linda works in the flower gardens, while Richard grows fruits and vegetables.  

Senior couple grows their own food

“She makes the best salsa,” Richard said. 

Of course, she uses tomatoes from the garden, where Richard plants sweet yellow tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and Big Boys.  

They also preserve jalapenos with just some vinegar and water in a glass jar.  It’s a trick Richard learned while working as manager at an Indianapolis Steak ’n Shake. That’s where the two met in the mid-1980s. (Linda also worked in food services.) They married in 1987, and they’ve been gardening together ever since.  

Seeds for seniors keeps them active and eating right

While Richard knows never to plant anything that grows above ground before the May 15 frost-free date – something he learned from his dad – he often starts plants inside, including several from seed packets that CICOA sent this spring to more than 300 clients.  

The packets were distributed during Nutrition Awareness Week to clients who receive meal vouchers or were part of the neighborhood meal program before COVID-19 forced a shut down.  

“We’re encouraging folks to eat healthy and increase their activity,” said Tiffany Cox, CICOA’s registered dietitian, nutritionist and wellness coordinator.

While the Dailys have a large garden, gardening can be as simple as growing vegetables in containers on a patio or herbs, such as basil, cilantro or oregano, indoors. Gardening is a great form of exercise and also a stress-reliever, especially when so many have been stuck at home due to the pandemic.  

Sharing a love of gardening through generations

Richard and Linda share their love of gardening with their 20 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. While they visit, the kids like to munch on peaches or check to see if any new berries are ready to be picked.  

The Dailys laugh at how they once dreaded gardening, because now it’s one of their favorite pastimes.  

These seed packets, along with nutrition education, are helping feed seniors for an entire year. A small gift to CICOA Meals & More can make your dollar go further to feed seniors.

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