Farm to Hospital Bed: This Hospital Uses It's Roof to Feed Thousands

Sourced from Nation Swell

When people step into a hospital, they’re often looking for an answer to a problem. What’s wrong with my stomach? Can the pain in my hand go away? How do I feel better?

While nurses and doctors are there to solve those problems, they’re also working to prevent future ones. Simplified, a hospital’s job is twofold: react and prevent.

On the roof of the Boston Medical Center, they’re preventing by growing.

The hospital’s 2,658-square-foot rooftop farm grows fresh produce for its food-insecure patients. These patients are referred to the Boston Medical Center’s Preventative Food Pantry. There, they gain access to over 25 crops and can take home fresh food for their entire household every two weeks.

“The Preventive Food Pantry helps fill the gap for those who would otherwise be unable to access affordable, nutritious food, and this expansion further demonstrates BMC’s commitment to addressing the underlying social factors that affect a patient’s health,” Thea James, MD, vice president of mission and associate chief medical officer at BMC, said in a news release.

Kale, carrots, onions, cauliflower, eggplants and radishes are all grown in the rooftop plant beds, creating over 6,000 pounds of food each year. A little under half goes directly home with patients, and the remainder is used for the hospital’s cafeteria, teaching kitchen and in-house farmers market, which is held in the lobby every week during the summer months.

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