Children’s Colorado has opened its new, 3,000-square-foot. Healthy Roots Community Garden, located at the southeast corner of the hospital, directly outside its Outpatient Pavilion, on the Anschutz Medical Campus.
Community partnerships make gardens possible
Made possible by funding from King Soopers and developed in partnership with Denver Urban Gardens (DUG), the sustainable garden will enable the hospital to grow and harvest a wide range of fresh produce, including (but not limited to) corn, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, kale, cabbage, raspberries, blackberries, squash, beets, carrots and broccoli.
The produce and the garden itself will be leveraged for a number of purposes, including:
- Providing an ongoing source of healthy produce to promote food security
- Providing produce for small farm stands to address the limited access to healthy foods surrounding the Anschutz Medical Campus
- Allowing for expanded, hands-on nutrition education and healthy eating/obesity prevention programs
- Enabling the hospital to launch a food prescription program and food pharmacy, allowing health care providers to “prescribe” healthy food instead of – or in addition to – medicine to patients/families struggling with obesity, diabetes and/or food security
- Educating individuals and the community on ways to be good environmental stewards
Gardens can have a positive impact on physical and mental health
“A growing body of evidence supports the amazing positive impact gardens can have on physical and mental health, food security, education, and fruit and vegetable consumption,” said Jena Hausmann, president and CEO of Children’s Colorado. “Increasing food access and food security is widely recognized as an effective strategy for improving health outcomes and lifting families out of poverty. Through this garden, we will be able to continue our efforts to help the families and children we serve, adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles while enabling them to lead happy, healthy and abundant lives.”
“Children’s Hospital Colorado’s robust program to eliminate hunger in our pediatric community ties in perfectly with our Zero Hunger Zero Waste program,” said Dennis Gibson, president of King Soopers. “In particular, it aligns with our goal within that program to improve the health of millions of Americans by making balanced meals more readily available. As a proud partner of Children’s Colorado for more than 40 years, it is our honor to stand side by side with them to ensure more of Colorado’s children and families have regular access to fresh produce – as well as an understanding of simple ways to incorporate that produce into a healthy lifestyle.”
The gardens will further Children's Colorado's mission to improve child health
The Healthy Roots Community Garden will have an urban farmer who oversees its planting, care and harvesting. The farmer will also oversee a secondary herb garden on the deck outside the hospital’s second story Conference Center. The herb garden will provide the hospital with herbs to use in its kitchen, allowing it to reduce its use of sodium in foods.
All aspects of the garden support Children’s Colorado’s Healthy Hospital Initiative. The initiative aims to create a health and wellness culture and environment at Children's Colorado and in the community so that Children’s Colorado can best deliver its mission to improve child health. Healthy Hospital efforts include partnerships, interventions and policies that address interrelated conditions and factors (social, environmental, economic, etc.) that influence the health of patient, visitor and employee populations.