Sprouting Joy and Purpose at Chelsea Retirement Community Gardens

Kate Collins Bee Keeping
The Jungers stand on CRC grounds
CRC Chickens

Prairie Cottages resident Fred Junger was walking through Dancey House at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) when Independent Living Life Enrichment Coordinator Hazel Mead asked him, “What do you know about chickens?” “Absolutely nothing!” was Fred’s reply.  But he decided to give it a try.

Three years later, Fred is known fondly as the “Chicken Man” among many CRC residents and team members for the caring he provides for approximately 8-12 chickens in the CRC Garden, located behind the Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

Each day in the summer, Fred feeds the chickens, changes the water, and collects the eggs – usually 7 to 8 each day. 

In addition to chickens, the CRC garden is home to a hive of Italian honeybees.  Kate Collins, Chief Project Development Officer for Brio Living Services, serves as beekeeper.  “They are good honey producers and quite gentle in temperament,” says Kate of the bees which can be seen throughout campus “feasting on the many flowers in our lovely gardens.”  About 20 to 30 pounds of honey is harvested per year.  The raw honey, along with fresh eggs, are popular items at the CRC resident store.

The CRC garden also contains more than 40 raised garden beds for residents to plant and tend.  Fred and his wife, Terry, both retired teachers, grow an assortment – from rhubarb to onions.  “The gardens give us something to talk about,” says Terry. “‘What did you plant?  How high are your peas?’”

Residents from all over campus enjoy the garden space.  “There’s seating, and it provides a place to bring our families and enjoy it together,” says Fred.

To learn more, visit ChelseaRetirementCommunity.org