Michigan hospital cultivates crops for healthy eating

Saint Joseph Mercy Health’s farm-to-tray program thriving

June 13—Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is part of a growing national movement to give hospital food a good name. The Ypsilanti, Michigan, hospital has its own tiny farm with a pair of hoop houses for growing crops year-round and a weekly farmer's market that regularly sells out of produce and cut flowers.

"We know our patients can't get well on a package of pudding with 50 ingredients and few vitamins and minerals. They need food rich in micronutrients. Those are best prepared from fresh food," says Lisa McDowell, MS, RD, CNSD. The four-acre farm debuted in April 2010 with a single hoop house with a 300-square-foot footprint. A second hoop house was added later that year.

Over the course of the year, the farm grows chard, kale, root vegetables, salad mix, garlic, carrots, cilantro and radishes.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
usc asian remodel

With a prime location in Los Angeles, one of the nation’s foodie capitols, the University of Southern California has plenty of dining competition. So when Kris Klinger, assistant vice president of retail operations, discovered that students were heading off campus for sushi and noodle bowls, he knew it was time to take action. The construction of Fertitta Hall, part of the university’s Marshall School of Business, provided the opportunity.

Klinger and Gary Marschall, associate director of USC auxiliary services in hospitality, shared photos of both the new Fertitta Cafe and a...

Ideas and Innovation
sandwich sub

At our corporate operation in the Kohl’s headquarters, two kinds of sandwiches are available daily—an artisan version and a more straightforward sub. While planning out a business model for the space, Kohl’s wanted something that was quality driven, but very sensitive to pricing for associates. Diners are comfortable spending about $6 to $7 for lunch.

FSD Resources