Garden Brings All Ages Together To Promote Healthy Eating

By: Cristina Mestre

A new community garden was launched last night at UPMC Senior Community Cumberland Crossing Manor, an assisted living facility on UPMC’s Passavant Hospital campus. 
The Passavant Hospital Foundation, UPMC Senior Services, UPMC’s Aging Institute, local students, a Boy Scout troop and the residents of Cumberland Crossing are all working together to plant and maintain the vegetable garden. It’s an intergenerational project in that older adults will interact with children and teenagers.
“Relationships are cultivated in the planning, planting and ongoing maintenance of the gardens,” says Betty Robison, gerontology educator at the University of Pittsburgh who is leading the community garden initiative.
The garden also provides an opportunity to teach kids about healthy eating (e.g., using Choose My Plate guidelines for healthy eating that center on the theme of filling half of our plate with fruits and vegetables),  and to emphasize community service and civic involvement, since the locally grown veggies will be used by UPMC Passavant facilities.  Residents of Cumberland Crossing will also develop recipes to share along with their best gardening tips.
In addition to this new garden at UPMC Passavant, Magee Women’s Hospital will continue to plant seasonal vegetable gardens in collaboration with Phipps Conservatory. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC also supports the Lawrenceville Community Block Garden Club, and UPMC’s Shadyside, Presbyterian, Montefiore, Magee Women’s, McKeesport, and Passavant hospitals all have healing gardens that provide green space for patients.
Additionally, most of the produce used in UPMC cafeterias and dietary services are locally sourced from regional farms in Southwestern Pennsylvania. UPMC’s Dietary Services will also continue offering the “Hospital Farmers Market,” where outpatients and visitors are welcome to participate.