Food Services Turns Forgotten Outdoor Space into a Productive Garden

Food Services Turns Forgotten Outdoor Space into a Productive Garden

Posted on: August 7, 2015

What good is a small outdoor space that's nearly forgotten and hemmed in by high walls? With a little faith, imagination and hard work, it can provide one of nature's greatest gifts.

Outdoor herb garden at hospital - Mercy Medical Center in Canton Ohio

At Mercy, we're literally making the workplace more green.

Our food services team recently planted a raised-bed herb and vegetable garden in an almost forgotten sliver of outdoor space in between hospital wings. The plan: to incorporate the produce into cafeteria cuisine.

If you can find the door to this hidden gem at Mercy, you'll see a variety of delicious, organic tomatoes (heirloom and beefsteak) and peppers growing, along with perennials like sage, cilantro, basil, dill, thyme, lavender and mint. This fresh produce is destined to join other ingredients in recipes and garnishes produced and served each day to employees, patients and visitors.

Rick Short, retail operations manager, says this endeavor is a first step toward promoting more local foods in the Mercy Cafeteria. He says, "We would eventually like to create a local foods program, and building those relationships takes time. As we consider the many things that go into 'buying local,' this herb garden is, for now, a great place to start."

In the near future, food services hopes to add another container. Some staff members have even bigger dreams for this little garden area. 

"It would be nice to see the space turned into an atrium with seating areas to create a quiet, peaceful environment," says Rick. "Right now, the garden space is ideal and looks great. Everything is growing strong."

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