From Farm to…Healthcare Center

A farmers market at a hospital? To many of us, this idea seems as incongruous as hospital gowns that leave you with a shred of dignity. Still, the trend is catching on. It’s another example of several movements – patient-centered care,* the nutritional and obesity crisis, and the “locavore” movement (see my post from 8/27) – converging to create some meaningful and healthy change. 
The Project for Public Spaces has featured farmers markets, including the Kaiser Farmers Markets (pictured above) as places that build community, facilitate local economic sustainability, and improve public health. Dr. Preston Maring spearheaded the campaign to bring farmers markets to Kaiser Permanente in California, which began in 2003. Here’s a nice article and photo essay about it, in the Journal of Life Sciences. That success has encouraged similar models all over the country, from Indiana to South Carolina to New York.
To me, farmers markets at hospitals and other health care facilities are another good example (though perhaps slightly more abstract) of “landscapes for health.” See my postings from 8/23 and 8/24 for a discussion about that term and the term “healing gardens.”
If you’re interested in getting a farmers market going at a hospital near you, read this article, “Farmers’ Markets and CSAs on Hospital Grounds.” published by Healthcare Without Harm, for a primer.
*I linked “patient-centered care” above to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, but if you google the term, you can find many more examples. If you want to get the feeling rather than just the words, go to the Planetree site,