LEV program promotes an affinity for gardening

Photo Kristin Schultz
Around 30 people gathered to learn about container gardening at the JCC's monthly LEV program.Photo Kristin Schultz Around 30 people gathered to learn about container gardening at the JCC's monthly LEV program.

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

It was a full house as nearly 30 participants took a seat and rolled up their sleeves at the B’nai B’rith house for the second installment of the Schenectady JCC’s LEV program.

Patty O’Hare of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County brought terra cotta pots, potting soil, seeds and clippings as she presented on spring plantings at the March 30 session.

Each of the attendees received two pots of dirt and planted their choice of herb, flower seeds or green plant clippings. Each person also received a special container to start growing a vegetable.

Many of those in attendance live onsite in the apartments. “Some of your neighbors couldn’t be here today,” Judy Ben-Ami, the JCC’s Jewish cultural and adult programming director, told the audience. “You each have two pots. It might be nice to plant one for yourself and the other to give to a neighbor.”

With a grant from the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, the JCC started a LEV program. LEV in Hebrew means heart and serves as an acronym for the adult program: Learning, Enrichment, Volunteering. The first event was a cooking demonstration.

At the gardening event, participants learned about the importance of proper timing for starting seeds and transplanting them into the ground. O’Hare also gave each person a packet of articles and guides.

The enrichment portion of the program came with the socializing and interpersonal interaction.

“The weather has been cold with slippery conditions,” said Ben-Ami. “The residents don’t like to get out in the elements, so this provides a place for them to get out and interact.”

Participants were engaged in lively discussions as they worked to select their seeds and sow them properly in the containers.

Sowing seeds to give to a neighbor was the volunteering portion of the program.

“We want to share the joy with a friend, relative or someone who needs some sunshine in their lives,” said Ben-Ami.

Though the program is mostly attended by seniors, it is open to the public, and the gardening event was attended by a mix of JCC members, house residents and community members.

Ben-Ami’s next scheduled program is on art collages.