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Salt Lake City – Hospitals are often thought of as places of healing, but not as often thought of as places of growth. Intermountain Healthcare’s LiVe Well Gardens prove they can be both.
LiVe Well Gardens are designed to engage employees, patients, and the community in physical activity, provide education, and model good health. Currently, there are two LiVe Well Gardens in Utah – at Intermountain’s Orem Community Hospital and Park City Medical Center.
“We are working with city leaders to make our garden a hub for neighborhood gardens throughout the City of Orem,” said Scott Mortensen, Orem Community Hospital CEO and administrator. “The garden on campus provides a framework for other gardens. It will be a resource of information and education for community members as they start and maintain gardens throughout the city. We feel this collaboration between the hospital and the city is a wonderful example of ‘helping people live the healthiest lives possible.’”
The Orem Garden has 24 raised beds and the Park City Garden has 20 beds, including a “wheelchair accessible” bed, all with drip irrigation systems. They are open to the public to visit, and in the case of Orem, residents can apply for a plot for their own use.
Intermountain employees and volunteers tend the beds and offer educational classes on gardening and nutrition. Each has the old gardening standbys such as tomatoes, corn, onions and beans. Orem also has some interesting greens, like sorrel. “We have some flowers in our plots as well,” said Laura Salazar, Orem LiVe Well Garden Communications representative. “We want to have an edible flower garden next year.”
“If you consider what ‘LiVe Well’ really means,” said Mortensen. “’LiVe Well’ is so much more than just exercising. It is even more than eating right. It’s gathering together socially. It’s being a part of something bigger than just yourself. That is another major part of the LiVe Well Garden here at Orem Community Hospital. This summer I have witnessed employees and community members mingling, sharing stories and helping each other in their respective gardens. That is LiVe Well.”
“We opened our Garden last year,” said Robert Allen, Park City Medical Center CEO. “The community and employees have rallied around it. It is a great way to engage others in healthy habits. Not only can you get some exercise and reduce stress, but it helps provide access to fresh vegetables.”
“Being at 7,000 feet elevation, we have some challenges,” Allen said regarding the Park City garden. “We’ve got tomatoes, peppers, beans, loads of lettuces, berries, squash, peas, carrots and much more. There are even 16 apple trees surrounding the garden.”
“We would invite anyone to stop by the Park City garden and pick a few veggies,” said Allen. “It’s all free and part of our mission to help people live the healthiest lives possible.”
LiVe Well Gardens are designed to engage employees, patients, and the community in physical activity, provide education, and model good health.