Boston Medical Center had launched rooftop farming 3 years ago for its patients and they are finding great results. Patients, especially the poor ones, vouch for the curative powers of locally grown fresh vegetables over any medicine that they have taken.
Carrie Golden was diagnosed with pre-diabetes and sent to the Preventive Food Pantry of the Boston Medical Center as she was found food-insecure. The hospital pantry gives free food to patients with low income.
One reason for the large number of diabetes cases is because poor patients have to depend on whatever food they can lay their hands on, and that includes a substantial amount of junk food. Healthy organic food is expensive and can only be afforded if one has money.
Rooftop Farming At Boston Medical Center
The rooftop farming initiative was launched 3 years ago to farm fresh produce meant for the hospital pantry. The rooftop farm produces an amazing 6,000 pounds (around 2,400 kg) of fresh food every year. 3,500 pounds go to the hospital pantry. The remaining produce is meant for the cafeteria in the hospital, the patients admitted, the teaching pantry, and even a portable in-house market.
The Boston Medical Center is part of a number of medical centers throughout the US that grow food on their rooftops. This particular initiative was the first case of rooftop farming in Massachusetts. It is also the largest in Boston. More than 25 varieties of crops are grown in the 2,658-sq-foot garden on the roof. They are grown in milk crates and are fully organic.
David Maffeo is the senior director at the hospital’s support service and says that food is a part of medicine and that is the reason that they lay store by the rooftop farm. The modern environment can scarcely offer good organic food to its citizens, especially the poor. This initiative is what the hospital owes to its patients and the community, he feels.
Lindsay Allen has been in charge of the rooftop farm since the beginning. The farmer feels that the produce from the oasis on the roof provides both preventive and reactive care to the patients. 72% of the patients are poor and do not get healthy and organic foods that are grown locally.
The food we eat is a critical part of our health and the hospital owes this to its patients. Generally, hospital food is substandard and patients are denied fresh wholesome food when they need it the most.
A Step Beyond
Allen also conducts various workshops on farming to educate employees, patients, and families on the importance of fresh locally grown food and the way to grow them. The teaching kitchen at the hospital has dietitians and food technicians who advise patients on the best way to cook healthy food with the produce derived from rooftop farming at the hospital.
The medical center plans to provide the patients and their families the expertise and the tools for a healthy diet, not just give them food.
Golden has benefited from the pantry food for the past 3 years and says that it has changed her outlook about the way food should be cooked. She had gone hungry for days together and she knows how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy. She shows her praise for the rooftop farming initiative taken up by the Medical Center and feels that words cannot express her gratitude for them.
It’s such a wonderful initiative, isn’t it?
Image Credit: Boston Medical
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