Arkansas Heart Hospital, home to an innovative foodservice operation known for its popular ramen dishes, is ready to begin growing its own produce. The hospital’s new 2,500-square-foot garden will be a source of produce for its cafe.
“We’ve gotten a lot out of it so far, but I know there’s more we can do to use it fully,” says Casey Atwood, director of food and nutritional services for the Little Rock, Ark., hospital. “I also want to get the community, especially our children, involved in the garden. We work with fantastic local community partners and I think the garden can be such a fun part of that outreach.”
Born out of the hospital’s commitment to making Arkansas a healthier state, the garden will be full of seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs once it’s fully grown. “You’re not going to find higher-quality food than day-fresh organic produce,” Jon Bierman, the hospital’s gardener, told KTHV-TV.
The new garden is just another innovation in a long line spearheaded by Arkansas Heart Hospital. In addition to its ramen menu and hyperlocal produce, the hospital recently unveiled a new food truck that will bring its popular dishes to further reaches of the community.
“What we’re doing here is a direct response to trying to get people to understand that eating plants, vegetables, fruits and exercising is an important part of health,” said Bierman, who will also help teach cooking demos that highlight food as medicine. “It’s an important lesson we all need to adopt. We’ve got a long road of health improvement in our state, but this is one way we can start.”
Photos courtesy of Arkansas Heart Hospital