Ingalls Rooftop Vegetable Garden to Benefit Local Food Pantries
Ingalls Memorial Hospital’s new Rooftop Garden is flourishing!
Thanks to careful tending, and an abundance of rain and sunshine over the last few weeks, a colorful array of vegetables are thriving in the month-old rooftop garden.
“Across the country and right here at Ingalls, urban gardens provide a sense of belonging, a wealth of healthy produce, and an opportunity to teach the young and old alike about better food choices and sustainability,” explains Joseph Moser, Vice President of the Ingalls Development Foundation. “The Ingalls Rooftop Garden provides valuable opportunities to learn about healthy eating while creating a sustainable supply of fresh produce for three local food pantries.”
Accented by vibrant red geraniums and cheerful yellow marigolds, an array of vegetable plants, including carrots, beets, radishes, string beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and collard greens, fill the large wooden planters located on the fourth floor of the hospital’s parking deck. And since the planters are raised, common garden pests like rabbits aren’t a problem.
The garden has been funded through a generous grant to the Ingalls Development Foundation. Its day-to-day management, including watering and weeding, is overseen by Ingalls dietetic interns, who planted the vegetables at the end of May. The garden is also equipped with a large rain barrel that collects and stores rainwater to water the plants daily. The rain barrel provides an ample supply of free “soft water,” containing no chlorine, lime or calcium, making it ideal for vegetable gardening.
Then, once the vegetables are ready for picking, the harvest will be donated to three local food pantries: Restoration Ministries, St. Clement’s Church and the Harvey Community Center.
“Our rooftop garden is an exciting addition to our Harvey campus and truly supports Ingalls’ mission to improve the health of the communities we serve,” Moser added.
A special thanks to Joan Millender, Ingalls director of community affairs, and Mary Vaughn, MA, RD, LDN, Ingalls coordinator of dietetic education, for coordinating and facilitating the garden’s development and ongoing care.