Detroit Hospital Builds Organic Greenhouse

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Henry Ford Health System has hired a resident farmer to grow organic produce for patients in its new greenhouse, now open on its 160–acre campus.

The $1 million complex, including an education center was funded entirely by an anonymous donor. The greenhouse will provide clinically based educational programs for a variety of audiences, including children, to make a significant impact on the growing epidemic of obesity.

Michelle Lutz, resident farmer at the hospital, is growing a wide variety of produce in the greenhouse, including tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, cucumber, peas, beans, strawberries, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, and herbs. With more than 16 years experience, Lutz is the former co-owner of certified organic vegetable Maple Creek Farm in Yale, Michigan, a resource for Henry Ford West Bloomfield since it opened in 2009.

“Our goal is to be a national model for how wellness education can improve health and reduce health care costs by providing people with resources to help them achieve optimal health,” says van Grinsven.

The produce being grown in the greenhouse is projected to reduce food costs at the hospital by more than $20,000 per year, while providing patients with healthy meals. Lutz joined Henry Ford in November, providing input into the type of crops and how they would be grown.

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