Last year, Bill Mount, our chief volunteer gardener, was awarded Gardener of the Year, by the Franklin Park Conservatory during its annual Growing to Green Awards ceremony. We’ve been so proud to have Bill bringing love to our garden, which in turn brings love through fresh vegetables and fruits served as part of meals to families staying in the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. What’s more, the garden has been a great way for families to rest from the stress of the hospital, strolling through the gourd tunnel, picking flowers, or even helping to plant knowing the seeds they put in the ground now will some day help feed families going through a serious medical situation with their child too.
This year, the garden is being nominated for the Boyd W. Bowden Garden Impact Award for Wellness and Health, which is presented to a community garden that has shown a significant and sustainable impact on the health and vitality of the community while developing connections to Nutrition, Wellness, and/or Food Production.
Here are a couple of examples given to support the RMHC Garden’s nomination:
The garden was started with the intent to provide fresh, homegrown produce to families with sick children. Everything grown in the garden goes directly into the kitchens at Ronald McDonald House. This provides three meals days, 365 days a year for families with sick children. It’s also providing education to the families and volunteers at the House through accessible recipes that can be made at home.
Chef Blair Arms has received comments from family members staying at the House about how they had never tried a particular fruit or vegetable, until they saw it growing in our garden. Sometimes it’s the curiosity of the children themselves that prompt the tasting of something new, after a stroll through the garden. When a family has a sick child, they look for answers in science and medicine and they turn to nutrition, perhaps in ways they never had before, to augment their child’s well-being. This happens not just from the families sharing the produce, but also mentally, by strengthening family bonds as they gather to create their own meals in the family kitchens using what they’ve found in the garden.
RMHC of Central Ohio is anxiously awaiting the announcement of the winners of the award. We’ll keep you updated here and on social media as the garden changes and evolves while continuing to feed our families.