Gene Thompson with one of the cucumbers from the garden

Gene Thompson, a resident at Green Valley Care Center in New Albany, Indiana, takes on a unique role at the facility.


Thompson, who lived on a farm near Taylorsville, Indiana, in his younger days, assists with caring for the garden in the facility’s courtyard. In summer 2017, the garden was lush with organic cucumbers, strawberries, yellow squash, eggplant, okra, bell peppers, red hot peppers, onions, cantaloupe, tomatoes and carnations.


“It’s just what I enjoy doing because I have always done farm work,” Thompson said. “It keeps you going. You gotta keep doing things.”


Thompson also cares for the facility’s pet rabbits and feeds the squirrels that come to visit. Instead of being a pest to the plants, the rabbits actually help the produce grow.


When asked how he grew the produce so big, Thompson answered, “It’s the rabbit droppings and lots of water,” with a big grin on his face.


As the produce ripened, Thompson harvested it and brought it either to the activities department or to the kitchen to share with everyone.

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