Teamwork yields free produce for local patients

Three years ago, Martha Bushman, MS, BSN RN, clinical specialist/supervisor, Parkview Population Health, and her teammates discussed the possibility of a Population Health garden. The goal was to provide patients, identified as facing food insecurities, an opportunity to enjoy fresh produce at no cost. Now the team is enjoying the fruits of their labor and the joy that comes from helping those around them.

Planting

The team chose to plant zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans, with the goal of providing nutritious options that were both delicious and easy to prepare.  

When it comes to getting their hands dirty, the group has made it a family affair. Coworkers and their loved ones volunteer their time to plant, weed, water, harvest and deliver produce to patients. At least one member of the team tends the garden daily throughout the summer months.  

The harvest

Team members and their families work together to harvest the vegetables. Once gathered, the group collaborates to identify patients for whom they’ve coordinated care who are facing food insecurities within Allen County, to receive produce from the garden at no cost.

“We’ve been able to provide just over 100 pounds of produce to our patients,” Martha said. “Vegetables harvested from the garden in the morning are delivered to patients in need in the afternoon.”

The reward

“It was a wonderful feeling to see the team work together to maintain the garden this summer. We are lucky to have a very cohesive group of co-workers who were excited to volunteer for this pilot project.”

The future

The success of this endeavor means bigger goals in the seasons to come. “We started small this year with three garden beds,” Martha said. “Plans are already in motion to expand our garden space next year and grow additional crops to help even more patients. It would be amazing to continue to work on team building and volunteer opportunities while supporting those who need our help.”

 

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