Why Boston Medical Center, Seattle Children's grow their own produce

 Hospitals such as Boston Medical Center and Seattle Children's are creating their own farms and gardens to grow fresh produce to be incorporated into various food-related projects at their respective facilities, according to USA Today.

The facilities are two of several hospitals nationwide that are increasingly aiming to farm their own produce, whether for sustainability reasons or in response to certain health needs in their respective communities. The percentage of hospitals nationwide with farms or gardens has doubled from 13 percent in 2008 to 26 percent in 2016, according to surveys administered by Practice Greenhealth and cited by USA Today.

In the case of BMC, the fruits and vegetables, when ripe, will be sent to the hospital's cafeteria salad bar, its preventative food pantry for low-income patients, or its demonstration kitchen in the hospital's cafeteria, where a chef will teach patients how to construct healthy, wholesome meals. By the end of the year, the BMC's farm will have harvested 5,000 pounds of produce such as eggplants, green beans, squash, radishes, carrots and 802 pounds of tomatoes, according to the report.

The produce harvested at Seattle Children's will be similarly used in the hospital's cafeteria and other areas. A representative from the hospital's nutrition department told USA Today Seattle Children's has maintained a garden for 10-plus years, but decided to expand its capacity to include strawberries, golden currants, watermelon radishes and more than 1,000 pounds of potatoes, among other produce, the report states.

"We want to increase 20 percent every year in our sourcing of local and sustainable foods, and the garden is certainly local and sustainable," the representative said. "We have goals around reducing sodium content in our foods. The garden will help the hospital do that by providing a source of unprocessed, fresh, organic produce."

More articles on facilities management:
U of Kansas Health System to open $360M patient tower
Mercy Hospital breaks ground on 228k square-foot facility
Allentown State Hospital newest site of M. Night Shyamalan film set

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