Boston’s “greenest hospital” became a lot greener with the addition of their rooftop garden. A 7,000-square-foot area lush with arugula, bok choy, Swiss chard, carrots, spinach, cucumbers, and two urban bee hives.
Morrison Healthcare partnered with Boston Medical Center (BMC) to help maintain and harvest the 16,000 pounds of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables that will grow there each season. Morrison chefs will use the very locally sourced produce in the patient meals and in the café to be enjoyed by guests and hospital staff. Any unused produce goes to the hospital’s Preventative Food Pantry–a program where low-income patients can get fresh produce prescribed by their doctors for free.
According to Morrison Regional Director of Operations Jamie Robidoux, the café often features specialty menu items and Teaching Kitchen events based on what is growing on the rooftop. Typically, they would source produce from New England farmers as far as 250 miles away. The garden has allowed the hospital to make a big impact on their sustainability efforts and include the entire hospital community. A Morrison Healthcare arborist maintains the garden with the help of dozens of volunteers, who are excited to get their hands dirty.
“We’re trying to touch the entire BMC community with this farm,” says David Maffeo, BMC Senior Director of Support Services. “Based on the number of emails I get, it’s been a huge hit and it’s energized the community. We see great feedback from the patients that they are eating fresh organic produce from right across the street.”
Maffeo says the excitement surrounding the garden is palpable and weekly tours are always fully booked. He’s also looking forward to the growing partnership between BMC and Morrison Healthcare as the garden grows and evolves.