By Caroline Robb
Howdy! My name is Caroline Robb, the Farm’s new intern for the spring season. Unlike most of the wonderful dietetic interns that have graced the Farm in seasons past, I am a student of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems hailing from the University of New Hampshire. Originally from Ann Arbor, I am overjoyed to return for the late spring season to be a part of the amazing sustainable effort that is the Farm at St. Joes!
In the past couple of days, as promised, we have been planting. Yesterday, about forty raspberry plants went in adjacent to the beautiful staff plots that will be fruiting next year. Kale, broccoli and cauliflower have all found a new home in our educational garden to-be. Our plants are all loving on a hearty dose of compost and really looking forward to some rain!
Like the majority of students entering their senior year of college, I haven’t exactly pinpointed what I want to do. However, knowing that my future is destined to be focused on the importance of food in health makes this experience the perfect gateway for me to explore my interests in holistic and preventative medicine, nutrition, and the necessary movement of our culture towards a more mindful balance between human interaction with the environment.
The Farm at St. Joes alone is a great testament to the importance of health care centers as exemplary institutions for healthy living. From the farmer’s market to staff plots to seeds for sale in the hospital lobby, sustainability in food and more mindful eating is creeping into the culture here. As I join the Farm team with a background in food service and sustainable agriculture, one of my goals is to reduce the environmental impact of the food system at St. Joe’s by assessing the viability of establishing a composting program. Considerations for this large scale program will include hauling waste off-site versus composting on-site, education for kitchen staff as well as hospital visitors and staff, and the potential spectrum of its implementation (biodegradable coffee cups, anyone?). Hopefully, a composting program will further educate our healthcare community about the importance of recycling food waste and reducing our impact as vital components of a more healthy and sustainable community.