Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital Greenhouse Certified Organic
“This is the only organic hydroponic hospital greenhouse in the country,” says Michelle Lutz, resident farmer at Henry Ford West Bloomfield. “And our patients are served dishes from the harvest in less than 24 hours, when the produce is the freshest.”
In addition to feeding patients, the produce is used in the hospital’s 90-seat Demonstration Kitchen, where healthy cooking classes are offered to the community, and Henry’s café. They are also sold at Henry Ford West Bloomfield’s weekly farmers’ market, which is open to the public in season.
Hydroponic practices means growing plants in water, instead of soil to maximize diversity, and maintain space for patients, staff and visitors.
Lutz explains that using hydroponics gives her more control over plant health, with recirculating systems using only 10 percent of the water needed in soil-based farming. She delivers organic nutrients to the plants daily, and risks from pests and diseases are reduced. Beneficial insects are released when necessary to control harmful insects. And, with no soil, there are no weeds.
The space is also used for physical, occupational and behavioral therapy, as well as a place of respite for staff and people visiting loved ones in the hospital. Gardening therapy allows patients to take a role in their recovery while learning how they may prevent or manage chronic diseases through healthy growing, and eating practices.
Tours of the greenhouse are available seven days a week, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., with in-
depth tours and workshops by appointment. School field trips are teaching children better nutrition, which can prevent childhood obesity.
CCOF supports and promotes organic practices through certification, education, and advocacy.