Spring is in the air and our team members at Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center are all about the green this year. After a year of planning, their much-anticipated community garden is now debuting!
Located near the back patio of the Springfield Regional Medical Center café, the new garden area features a functional raised flower bed layout with pathways and a new fence around the perimeter. Hospital departments will take ownership of individual beds, deciding what to grow and caring for what’s planted.
The idea for the project originated from the hospital’s chef, Broc Baltes, who wanted a small herb garden for the cafeteria about a year and a half ago. Together, he and Stephanie Novosad, director of nutrition services in our Springfield market, discussed the possibilities.
“We brought the idea forward,” Stephanie recalls. “Leadership really embraced the opportunity for engagement, and they challenged me to put together a summary for involvement.”
Stephanie, who has worked with us as a licensed dietitian for five years now, leads the garden committee, made up of nine “bed owners” each representing a different hospital department.
“Our associates have really rallied around the total garden effort,” Stephanie shares. “Together we have planned the layout and the construction, which took place this past December.”
The team worked to advertise the garden and opportunities for involvement during National Nutrition Month in March through events at the hospitals, including a visit from the Master Gardeners group.
“Many of our leaders are avid gardeners themselves,” Stephanie adds. “In fact, Dr. Joseph Morman, our chief clinical officer, is the executive sponsor for our committee.”
The nine departments involved this 2023 growing season will be nutrition services, volunteer services, therapy, acute rehab, heart services, surgery, sleep/EEG/DME, oncology and education/administration. Collectively, they’ll be growing a large variety of vegetables and herbs, with plans for seasonal flowers and perennial grasses on the perimeter outside the fence of the gardens to welcome visitors.
Everything is expected to be planted and in the ground by mid-May, and then a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony will officially open the area. Once the fruits of their labor are harvested, each department will get a chance to take home what they’ve grown. Anything left over will be donated to local food banks.
The garden was funded by the Mercy Health Foundation Clark and Champaign Counties, while the Springfield Regional Medical Center Auxiliary donated $2,000 to cover tools needed to maintain the garden.
Did you know?
- Thirty minutes of weeding in your garden can burn up to 110 calories.
- Getting outdoors boosts vitamin D – which can improve bone health and boost your immune system.
- Gardening has been shown to reduce depression and improve mental well-being, acting as a natural anti-depressant that makes you feel relaxed and happier.