Community Gardens

Hospital Staff Community Garden and 

the Growing Compassion Garden

community garden 3-30-2020

We are living Trinity Health’s commitment to being a transforming healing presence in our community. The land that we grow on is crucial in this process. On our Farm we have 1) a Staff Community Garden and 2) the Growing Compassion Garden, both started and led by dedicated St. Joe’s staff volunteers.  St. Joe’s staff and retired staff can sign up to tend their own garden plot and for those who’d rather play with flowers – we’ll meet you in the Growing Compassion Garden!

1) STAFF COMMUNITY GARDEN at The Farm at St. Joe’s

Have you always wanted to try your hand at growing a vegetable garden? Or, maybe you’re an expert gardener, but your yard is too shady? Then join with fellow St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor staff and retirees at the Staff Community Garden at The Farm at St. Joe’s!

This space provides physical and mental wellbeing through the food that’s grown and the relationships formed between fellow gardeners. The garden is a large area with individual plots for employees to grow their own vegetables at low cost, plus a training workshop for first-time gardener s(see below for details).

The garden provides a opportunity to grow vegetables for your family, friends, and office mates across the street from where you work. Mentoring is on-going for those who wish to have a knowledgeable resource. Come join us!


Garden plots are available on a first-come, first-served basis in the spring.  There is a fee to cover the use of the plot for the summer, which covers compost, water, pathway, and fence maintenance. There is a workday to prepare plots and add compost in the spring. 

First year gardeners are required to pay a refundable deposit of $20 in the form of a separate payment/check.  . Checks should be made out to “St. Joseph Mercy Hospital”.


Standard plot: 10′ x 9′  or 10′ x 6′  The cost is $15*

Medium plot: 10′ x 12′  The cost is $20*

Large plot:      10′ x 15′  The cost is $25*.  We ask that experienced gardeners or groups of people who are committed to maintaining their plot sign-up for this size.

*plus a refundable deposit of $20 for first year gardeners








Signing up: You may sign-up as an individual or as a group. If you are a group, we ask that one person registers and pays for the plot.

First come, first served: Registration will open in the spring, there will likely be a waiting list

  • There are a limited number of plots.
  • One plot per person/group.
  • Note: Gardeners must be staff or retirees who work(ed) at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor at the time of signing-up.   

To register, contact the Garden Coordinator and include the plot size that you are interested in: Rozelle Copeland 

  • If space is available, you will then be asked to provide:
    • Payment for the plot
    • Deposit (if new to the garden)
    • A signed Garden Plot Rental Agreement with signed liability waivers for all ‘helpers’

Opening: This depends on the weather and our ability to prep the soil in early May.

Closing: Gardens must be cleaned up by Nov 15th.

For more information on how to sign-up, or if you have questions, please contact the Community Garden Coordinator with the plot size that you are interested in: Rozelle Copeland (

Introduction to Gardening Class:   This class is for the new gardener who is looking for information on how to get started. Contact Rozelle Copeland, the Garden Coordinator, if you are interested. Class will cover a variety of topics including:

  • what to expect
  • figuring out what and how much to plant
  • how to plant
  • heirloom vs. hybrid
  • tips for tomatoes

Location of the Staff Community Garden:   The Farm at St. Joe’s 5557 McAuley Dr., Ypsilanti, MI,  Staff garden plots are outside.

Staff Community Garden in early spring


2) The Growing Compassion Garden Project

Bee of close-up sunflower
The Growing Compassion Garden is a project that brings a powerful healing presence to St Joseph Mercy Hospital through a joyful and beautiful dose of nature: flowers.  This is a  project started by and run by employees who volunteer their time to give flowers to hospitalized patients who are alone and in need, as well as to locations at the main Hospital entrances frequented by patients. The flowers are grown by our Farm team then Hospital staff  volunteer their time to care for, pick the flowers, and deliver the flowers to the Hospital.  Recycled jars collected from employees are used for the  flower bouquets.  Hospital staff  who care for the patients, then deliver the flowers to inpatients who are alone.

It is an honor to have this idea supported by St Joe’s and to provide an opportunity to enhance our remarkable care with remarkable compassion, providing a healing presence to our community and to those inpatients who are facing a significant health concern alone.

This program was started in 2016 and our goal is to get more staff volunteers interested in supporting the program, so that it can continue to expand and include more direct inpatient deliveries.

  Wheel barrow \

Cosmos and zinnias

Volunteers are needed for the following:

  • Pick, arranging,  and deliver  flowers weekly to a designated Hospital locations
  • Plant flowers in the Spring
  • Water and weed the flower beds at The Farm

The amount of time can be small or large depending upon the task, but the employee must commit to volunteering weekly.  Current volunteers share that they feel joy in being of service to those in need.  The gift of flowers is transforming and healing.

If interested, please contact:

Growing Compassion Garden Coordinator and founder:  Rozelle Copeland

Sunflowers                                                                     Strawflowers

* COVID-19 garden protocols – our community garden spaces are following current guidelines, such as safe gardening and physical distancing practices with an outside hand washing station and regular sanitation of shared tools.