CHARLOTTE - Carolinas Medical Center-University broke ground today on an organic fruit, vegetable and herb garden to provide educational opportunities to local schools and the community on the importance of healthy eating habits.
The teaching garden on hospital property will provide nutrition education to hospital visitors and staff, with on-site visits for local school children and community members.
“The new garden at CMC-University, which is the first of its kind at any Carolinas HealthCare System facility, will be a great educational tool to encourage healthy eating habits among children,” said Bill Leonard, President of CMC-University. “It's part of our hospital’s commitment to be a center of excellence for digestive health and underscores CHS’s mission to enhance the health and well-being of our community.”
The 500-square-foot garden will feature raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, a large cedar pergola, benches, working and dining tables, and a composting area. Local businesses are assisting hospital staff and volunteers in building the garden, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.
CMC-University dietitian Elaine Jones, who spearheaded the project, said the hospital will use the garden as a teaching tool for local schools and community members, and as a way to highlight the benefits of fresh, locally grown produce. It also will serve as a therapeutic environment for hospital patients, visitors and staff.
“We see the garden as an extension of our outreach to the community and a way to teach healthy habits to both children and adults,” said Jones, Clinical Nutrition Manager of CMC-University. "We have a very enthusiastic group of employees and volunteers who will plant and harvest the crops, some of which may be used in the hospital's cafeteria."