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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: July 31, 2013


The public is invited to an Aug. 8 Garden Fair at the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Herman Holloway campus at 1901 N. Dupont Hwy. in New Castle. Hosted by DHSS and the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), the event begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m.

The family-friendly fair is free and celebrates the newly expanded "Planting Hope in Delaware" gardens. The event promotes community gardening, gardening for people with disabilities, healthy foods and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Attendees can learn about local sources of fresh produce, approaches to starting home gardens, and tools that make gardening easy for people of all abilities. There will be free recipes, gardening speakers, raffle items and 35 exhibitors. (See attached schedule of events.)

In celebration of National Zucchini Day on Aug. 8, the public is invited to bring their heaviest zucchini to the Farmer's Market table in the picnic area for a Zucchini Weigh-in. The heaviest zucchini wins a prize, with the winner announced at 1:00 p.m. All collected zucchini will be donated to a local food pantry.

Opening ceremonies are at 9:00 a.m. in the picnic area, where Lt. Governor Matt Denn, DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, and DDA Secretary Ed Kee will make brief remarks. Joined by Steve Yeatman, Deputy Director of the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services at the Department for Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, they will participate in a "walk and roll" to the Planting Hope in Delaware garden. The walk will be led by Terry Center Campus clients. The roll will be led by Preston's March for Energy, a group of children on specially designed bicycles.

Unique to this event are scheduled gardening talks and tours. In the Holloway Cafe at 10:00 a.m., Ron Jester, project director of Mid-Atlantic AgrAbility, will open the webinar, Gardening with Arthritis, and afterwards demonstrate assistive tools. Another 10:00 a.m. choice is The Accessible Garden, a talk in the garden by Melodye May, an educator with the DHSS Division for the Visually Impaired (DVI).

Gardening for the Five Senses, presented by Carrie Murphy of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Service, begins at 10:20 a.m. in the garden. Gail Hermenau, the Planting Hope garden manager, presents Market and Community Gardens and Gardening in Small Spaces in the vegetable garden at 10:40 a.m.

Five speakers headline a panel beginning at 11:15 a.m. in the Springer gym. Faith Kuehn, PhD, DDA Environmental Program Administrator, will provide the Introduction to the Planting Hope Garden. DHSS Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay, MD, MS presents Connecting Gardening to Physical Health. Shelia Gallagher, CPH, HTR, manager of Horticulture Programs at Melwood of Upper Marlboro, Md., speaks to Restoring the Human Psyche through Gardening. Jen Bruhler, director of programs at the Delaware Center for Horticulture, speaks about Gardens as a Mechanism to Strengthen and Build Communities. Gardens for People in Community Re-entry Programs will be presented by Jack McDonough, Program Director, Federal Residential Reentry Center and former Chief, U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office, District of Delaware.

At 1:15 p.m., the film Labyrinths for Our Time: Places of Refuge in a Hectic World will be played in the Springer gym. In this DVD created by the Labyrinth Society, professionals speak to the value and health benefits of walking labyrinths in public places. All day, Garden Fair participants can evaluate the labyrinth experience at a temporary outdoor labyrinth, its entrance marked by an arbor donated by Arbor Counseling Center. In the Springer library, finger labyrinths will be provided for those who choose not to walk the outside labyrinth.

Assorted foods and beverages will be for sale, including lemonade by the Terry Center Campus clients. The 2013 Mar-Del Watermelon Queen Chelsey Procino of Seaford will distribute free watermelon samples from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., immediately followed by a seed spitting contest until 2:00 p.m.

There will be a drawing for raffle items at 1:00 p.m. in the big tent. Raffle items include a Master Gardeners' gift certificate, a child's bicycle, gift baskets, sunglasses and an hour of personal training. Raffle tickets are $1 each or five for $6. Planting Hope t-shirts in adult sizes are $20 each. Painted pavers, to be installed on garden paths, are $25. Those making a $2 donation will receive a garden tote filled with helpful gardening literature. All proceeds benefit the Planting Hope in Delaware gardens.

The Garden Fair is sponsored by: Open Door, Inc., the Newark Bike Project, the University of Delaware's College of Health Sciences, Fit for Life, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, Gateway Gardens, Halpern Eye, Arbor Counseling Center, Gage Family Beekeepers, Green Heron Tools, First State Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Peninsula Compost Company, the W. J. Horne family, Max Dooley, Empire Gardens, Newark Natural Foods Co-op, the Kiwanis Club of Wilmington, DE and Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

Established in 2010, Planting Hope in Delaware is a public-private partnership that tends gardens to enhance the health and well-being of clients of the Delaware Psychiatric Center, employees of the Herman Holloway Campus, and residents of the surrounding communities. The campus employs approximately 1,000 people, and houses many Delaware Department of Health and Social Service divisions, including the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities, and the Division for the Visually Impaired.

For more information about the Garden Fair or Planting Hope in Delaware, visit or contact Faith Kuehn at 302-698-4587 or A Flickr photoset can be viewed at

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.