Garden Enterprise Helps to Build up People, Physically and Emotionally
ThedaCare announced today it will contribute $50,000 toward the construction of five new hoop houses at Riverview Gardens in support of the non-profit’s ServiceWorks job training program. Riverview Gardens was established in 2011 as a collaborative transformation of a 70-acre private golf course in downtown Appleton, into an urban farm, park and job-training program.
In addition to the support offered through the jobs program, Larry London, executive chef for ThedaCare, contracted to buy $20,000 worth of fresh produce in 2014 to be served in hospital cafeterias at Appleton Medical Center and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah.
ThedaCare, the community health system that consists of five regional hospitals and ThedaCare Physicians, made the $50,000 grant to help train people experiencing homelessness or in transitional housing. Participants work at Riverview Gardens for 90 hours over a three-month period and receive training, meals and evaluations that result in positive work records and secure job recommendations.
“There is a vitally strong link between ThedaCare’s mission to improve the health of our communities and Riverview’s mission to grow healthy food while simultaneously addressing poverty, homelessness and unemployment,” said Dr. Dean Gruner, president and CEO of ThedaCare. “We believe this market-based garden enterprise helps to build up people, both physically and emotionally. We are proud to be partners in their good work.”
A smaller carbon footprint and plenty of optimally fresh food at its peak flavor and nutritional value are the reasons that Chef London contracted for Riverview Gardens produce. “As we continue on our wellness journey, it is a win-win partnership. We’re very excited to offer fresh product, farmed locally using best practices, for our guests in the hospital cafeterias.”
Cindy Sahotsky, executive director at Riverview Gardens, Inc., commented, “We are very happy to partner with ThedaCare to construct five hoop houses at Riverview Gardens and supply produce to their employees. Their generous grant and future contract ensures a stronger and healthier local food system.”
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare isone of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.