What makes your idea unique?
Hammond Street Senior Center is located in the heart of Downtown Bangor, Maine’s second largest city. Our three-story historic building is a hub for more than 2,000 seniors in the Greater Bangor Region who want to stay active, keep learning, meet new friends and age well. Membership to the Senior Center is free and open to any person at least 60 years old living in the Bangor Region.
The "Still Growing" Senior Community Rooftop Garden is unique in its origin and implementation, its unparalleled role and place in our region, and for the practical and social outcomes it produces.
First, it is a member-driven initiative. Rather than being a service project "for the benefit of" seniors, or something that "advocates think" seniors "need", the idea of building raised beds and planting containers for a garden on our roof came from members of the senior center. They have taken it upon themselves to get permission from the city’s planning board, buy and install a walk-out window for easier access and recruit outside experts and other members who know about gardening to plan the project.
Second, we are not aware of another business or organization within the Greater Bangor Region that has transformed or lent its rooftop to a communal garden or to a food-producing garden of this scale. We are hoping that our skyline oasis starts a trend to use otherwise wasted real estate in a tight urban Downtown setting for green space and local organic food production.
Third, this effort is more than just about planting a garden. Healthy eating is positively linked to healthy aging. Continued social engagement, physical activity and meaningful work are also contributing factors in healthy aging. The opportunities for physical activity, meaningful work, regained sense of independence, and forging new friendships later in life that are inherent to the process of building and cultivating this garden are even more important than the fresh vegetables it produces.