Changing Hospital Food to Healing Food!
Learn how a hospital dietician defied convention to create an organic vegetable garden for her patients.
I have a vision. A vision of a healthy world with happy people. A vision of a colorful healed earth full of abundant life. In this beautiful dream, people walk on mama earth’s soil and have so much gratitude for her gifts. I imagine bright orange carrots, plump fruit, and little grinning healthy kids with berry juice running down their face.
Some people tell me this is a fantasy. They talk about all the things wrong with the world. I am not naïve to the world we live in yet I choose to tell the stories of inspiration. The stories of brilliant kind people taking steps to make a difference.
Joetta Redlin, Director of Nutrition Services and her team at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, Iowa are choosing to make such a difference.
Whoa, whaaaat you are thinking. A hospital?? Am I reading a counterfeit LoveSelf article? Nope this is the real thing and you will be offering hugs to Joetta and the team at Winneshiek Medical Center by the time you wrap up the last words of this story.
What comes to mind when you think of hospital food? If you are like me, it is something like “yuck” and Jell-O. I will confess. Healthy and tasty are not descriptors that occur to me. In other words, will someone run to the organic grocery store and bring this poor patient some good food?!
Guess what? Joetta and her team are working really hard to prove me wrong. A food is medicine inspiration for all healthcare centers!
What was once a barren courtyard has now become a beautiful edible landscape. Complete with bright flowers and stunning vegetables. In August of 2009, collaboration between the hospital leadership, with support from the Kellogg Foundation, sparked the idea of creating a healthy garden. The garden was designed to feed the patients and their families healthy naturally grown produce.
Joetta spoke to me about “not needing all those pills if we eat healthy food”. The team truly believes that health is not just “absence of illness… it is about well being”.
Imagine swiss chard, fresh herbs, bright green broccoli, gorgeous cabbage, asparagus to launch a beautiful spring, tomatoes, peppers, and kale. I could go on and on yet you get the idea. Hungry yet?
Like all things that are worth having, the garden is hard work. Planting, tending, maintaining, harvesting, cooking, and serving are a labor of love for the Winneshiek staff. Joetta will tell you she is not your average dietician. As a matter of fact, she laughed stating, “I think I may be weird”. At LoveSelf we think weird is awesome. Especially when it means following your own path to empower healing. Joetta spoke to me about “not needing all those pills if we eat healthy food”. The team truly believes that health is not just “absence of illness… it is about well being”. Oh my goodness!!! Are you feeling that hug yet?!
As a matter of fact, she laughed stating, “I think I may be weird”. At LoveSelf we think weird is awesome. Especially when it means following your own path to empower healing.
Remember the vision that launched this story? Well, I have a vision for Winneshiek Medical Center and it is quite a lofty goal. Keep up the great work. Feed all your patients natural healthy yummy vegetables. Heal their bodies and spirit with earth inspired decadence. Continue to be the light for all medical centers.
Joetta and all those who support your great work, thank you for being a shining example of what happens when you take the steps into the colorful healed earth dream.
For a quick and easy dinner try Joetta’s Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables. Inspired by the Winneshiek garden, of course! We included a dairy free, vegan option too!