Seng Hay's lunches

This is Seng Hay, a Cambodian refugee who arrived in this part of the world in 2001. Last summer she was the cook at the senior center in Logan that I visited this week. Every morning, she told me, she'd go to the seniors' garden at Our Lady of Hope church, about 10 blocks away, peruse the garden for the freshest and best stuff, and plan her lunch menus accordingly. What could be better? Here she's making her famous spicy Cambodian stew with green vegetables. Seng has health issues now, and won't be cooking for her friends at the center this summer, but she'll be remembered as the cook who ushered in the garden's first season with delicious meals. As Tara Schwartzendruber-Landis says, "We always talk about food at the senior center and the reality was, we were feeding people highly processed foods. Our fruits and vegetables were frozen or canned. If we really want to feed our seniors better, we figured we had to have a space to grow." Tara is the program director at the center. Although most of the seniors she works with there were farmers back home in Vietnam or Cambodia, they had no place to grow anything in Philadelphia. So the garden at Our Lady of Hope answered many needs. You can read about all this, and much more, in Friday's Home & Design section. (Photos from the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging)