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Hospital Corner: Join us in the garden

by Riley Polumbus
| June 7, 2023 1:00 AM

Did you know the hospital has a garden?

Located on the north side of the hospital, the Planetree Healing Garden has blossomed into the place it was envisioned to be when it was established. A place that would grow food that could be used in the hospital’s kitchen. A place where patients, visitors, and employees could go to sit peacefully and reflect while enjoying flowers, birds, and butterflies. A place where the community could gather for events.

This summer, Logan Health – Whitefish, in partnership with Land to Hand MT presents the, “Dig, Grow, Eat – Seed to Table Series” four events open to the public starting tonight at 5:30 p.m. with “Gardening 101”. The one-hour class will offer tips for growing successful gardens in the Flathead Valley from Planetree Healing Garden manager, Ryan DeAngelis, and Rick Stern Land to Hand MT’s farm-to-school educator.

Next week’s class, “Eating in Season” will feature Logan Health – Whitefish’s Director of Nutrition Services David Ray, and Clinical Dietician Carrie Archibald sharing ideas for creating healthy meals from local ingredients in season.

The aim of these classes is to engage with community members and hopefully encourage and inspire participants to start their own gardens, and eat food grown locally. We also hope to cultivate a sense of community centered around gardening and creating healthy meals.

Gardening offers an abundance of health benefits one might not think about. It promotes physical activity outside in fresh air and sunshine. It can lower one’s blood pressure and burn calories while improving dexterity and building strength. Of course, when gardens are successful in growing herbs and produce, this can enhance one’s diet. Hopefully, gardening can also foster social interaction with family members, or friends and neighbors, improving emotional health as well as physical health.

Most of us know that a healthy diet is integral to one’s health, yet we can all stand to learn more about how to incorporate more produce into our diets. As we grow, we need to learn what our bodies need as these needs can change with age or due to other factors. We can all learn to eat better, and Logan Health – Whitefish’s dietician Carrie Archibald is happy to offer her insight to those who attend next week’s class. As many know, the Valley Café at the hospital is open to the public for breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday and offers affordable, healthy meals under the direction of David Ray. Together they are excited to share some ideas for creating meals fresh from local gardens and Farmers' Markets.

After the two classes this June, the Seed to Table Series will take a summer hiatus and return in September with Seed Saving 101 on Sept. 13 and fall harvest edition of Eating in Season on Sept. 20.

We invite the community to our garden on these four Wednesday evenings, 5:30-6:30 p.m., to learn and share tips about growing and eating good food. Drive, bike or walk to the Planetree Healing Garden located near the corner of Hospital Way and River Lakes Parkway, just north of the hospital.

Riley Polumbus writes the monthly Hospital Corner column for the Whitefish Pilot and manages community relations for Logan Health – Whitefish at rpolumbus@logan.org.