North Valley Hospital has broken ground on the Healing Garden, a project funded in part by the North Valley Hospital Foundation, in the field north of the North Valley Hospital parking lot.
The garden started as an idea from Mary Sterhan, Senior Director of Quality and Planetree, and the Planetree committee. Meagen Healy, Catering Manager presented the idea to the Green Team, a group committed to making North Valley Hospital sustainable and decreasing environmental impact.
When Alan Satterlee, Executive Director of the North Valley Hospital Foundation heard about the idea, work began to secure grant and donor specific funding for the garden.
“It’s so amazing that our hospital now has a garden that will be open to the public,” says Sterhan. “The idea fits so well with our Planetree culture and is something that we want to offer to our patients, visitors, employees and community. It’s just another way to share our passion for care and healing with the entire community.”
Almost two-thirds of the 60 by 60 feet garden will be designed to be a gathering area with benches, walkways, and trees for employees, families, patients, and the public to relax and enjoy a serene natural space.
The garden was designed by the Green Team and Landcastle Landscaping to carefully use the space in both a production vegetable garden capacity and also a calming place. The other half of the garden will be a production garden with raised beds. These beds will not be open for public use as with traditional community gardens, but the produce harvested by volunteers will be used for a variety of groups that have ties to the mission of North Valley Hospital.
The Hospital is piloting a Food Rx program which will ultimately use the garden to make produce available for clinic patients who qualify for the program because they are malnourished or don’t have access to fresh food. The program is envisioned to be a five- to sixth-month program offering weekly shares of produce with access to lessons about cooking, shopping, diabetes prevention, nutrition, and health.
The Diabetes Prevention Program will have two raised beds for dieticians to use in a program to discuss healthy eating, cooking ideas, growing your own food and nutrition.
Future use of the garden may also include residents at The Springs who will have two beds to garden. Being outside and returning to hobbies has been shown to drastically improve the mood and mental state of all age groups, especially elderly people.
Additional vegetables will be used at North Valley Hospital’s Valley Café or donated to the North Valley Food Bank or given to employees who are in need.
North Valley Hospital and the North Valley Hospital Foundation have partnered with community organizations including Farm Hands, School District #44 Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, and other organizations. Businesses who have supported the healthy living efforts are Western Building Center, Hammer Nutrition and Third Street Market. North Valley Hospital will be recruiting additional volunteers, technical expertise, plant starts and community assistance with Food Rx implementation moving forward. If you are interested, please contact Allison Linville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Linville handles community relations for North Valley Hospital.