Gardeners were selected last week for the new community garden on FIRM’s campus, and already elders can be seen in the garden every day planting seeds and tending their rows! Ten families have plots in FIRM’s garden. For many elders in the community that FIRM serves, gardening helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and blood pressure and provides valuable exercise and social interaction. Part of Fresno County’s Department of Behavioral Health program for Horticultural Therapuetic Community Centers, the gardens are designed to prevent more serious mental illnesses from developing, the gardens will also be a safe, non-threatening place for individuals to learn about and be referred to other mental health resources that they may need. Both mental health and gardening workshops will be offered to families participating in the garden, as well as the wider community.