Mercy Health will soon have a community garden

Merch Health — Springfield Regional Medical Center (SRMC) will soon debut a community garden.

The garden will be located near the back patio of the SRMC café and will feature a functional raised bed layout with pathways and a new fence around the perimeter.

The hospital departments will take ownership of individuals beds, decide what to grow and care for what’s planted.

“The garden is a great tool for networking that allows our staff to get to know each other and work together toward a common goal,” said Joseph Morman, chief clinical officer. “It also allows them to lead by example, not only promoting healthy eating but also many of the other benefits gardening can have on both the mind and body.”

The nine departments involved will be nutrition services, volunteer services, therapy, acute rehab, heart services, surgery, sleep/EEG/DME, oncology and education/administration. They will all be growing a large variety of vegetables and herbs, with plans for seasonal flowers and perennial grasses on the perimeter outside the fence to welcome visitors.

Stephanie Novosad, director of Nutrition Services, said the garden will give the departments an opportunity to get involved, while also taking a break from their responsibilities.

“Our teams have spent a year planning our gardens, and all of our hard work is finally going to come to life soon as the spring season approaches,” she said.

Everything is expected to be planted and in the ground by mid-May, with a ribbon cutting ceremony planned for Wednesday, May 24. Once the garden harvest happens, each department will be able to take home what they’ve grown, and anything left over will be donated to local food banks.

The garden was funded by the Mercy Health Foundation Clark & Champaign Counties, and the SRMC Auxiliary donated $2,000 to cover tools needed to maintain the garden.

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