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Hospital garden hopes for second year harvest

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By Taylor Riley

 

Baptist Health La Grange’s Genesis Garden exceeded its expectations in its first year of growth of providing easy access to healthier food options to patients and those in the community suffering with chronic disease.

After a Community Needs Assessment in 2012, residents in Oldham, Trimble and Henry counties reported that obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer are leading health problems with the top six risky health behaviors falling into two categories: substance abuse and nutrition/weight issues.

In the same study, Baptist Health La Grange ranked number one in nutritional disorders compared to other hospitals in the area.

Seeing this, Samantha Gaddie, then the Quality Review Specialist for Baptist Health La Grange, decided to attempt to help the people in the community to make healthier choices by starting a fresh produce garden at the hospital.

“People with a set income or chronic illness didn’t have a means to eat healthy and we wanted to help them,” Gaddie said.

Gaddie, with help from Nancy Orr-Rainey, a former employee, partnered with five different farmers and the Farmer’s Market to create a garden, which harvests tomatoes, zucchini, squash, green beans, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli and herbs.

There was also a sensory garden created so those with sensory limitations could feel and smell the fresh herbs during the peak-growing season. A wheelchair accessible portion was built for those who needed it and allowed he or she to roll right up to the plant beds.

The past year was extremely successful, according to Gaddie, who said 150 people were served.

“It has had a big impact on the community,” Gaddie said. “We, as a community, are really struggling right now to get people to make wiser food choices.”

The garden is completely donation and volunteer based and in the next year Gaddie hopes to expand the project by adding more gardens and fruit trees.

The garden serves mostly patients from the hospital, but Orr-Rainey said she hopes that more of the community will use the garden to their advantage.

“The numbers were incredible this year…there is a potential to continue to grow,” Orr-Rainey said. “This is huge.”

More volunteers are needed for maintaining the garden. For more information, email Samantha Gaddie at SGaddie@bhsi.com.

Email us about this story at taylorriley@oldhamera.com.