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Breaking Ground on Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s Community Garden

ORANGE CITY, Fla., December 1, 2016 — On Nov. 29, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial celebrated a groundbreaking for Volusia County’s first community garden on a hospital campus. 
 
“In October, I went to the American College of Lifestyle Medicine's conference. There, I learned that of the top 15 killers in the world, 11 of them are preventable through lifestyle changes, such as nutrition and exercise,” said Danielle Johnson, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial chief operating officer. “Through this community garden, we hope to transform the health and wellbeing of our community, encouraging a plant-based diet and exercise, to help reduce the risk of these 11 diseases.”
 
Dr. Gail Hansen, University of Florida department of environmental horticulture associate professor, and Dr. Esen Momol, University of Florida director of the Florida friendly landscape program, led a University of Florida design team to create Florida Hospital Fish Memorial’s community garden. 
 
“We are so thankful for our partnerships with the University of Florida. They so willingly shared their knowledge and expertise, designing this entire space,” said Maureen Mercho, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation executive director. “This is huge for West Volusia and something to celebrate. On this single plot of land, members of our community can grow their own organic food and get exercise while doing it.  What could be better?”
 
The event also featured LaManda Joy, an award-winning master gardener and the founder and executive director of the Peterson Garden Project, an organization that manages seven community gardens and nearly 3,000 gardeners in Chicago, Illinois. 
 
“Gardening is the excuse, but community is the point. There is so much goodness in gardening and it truly brings the community together,” said Joy. 
 
To learn more or get involved in the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial community garden, call the Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation at (386) 917-7142 or email maureen.mercho@ahss.org
 
About Florida Hospital Fish Memorial
Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is a member of Adventist Health System, a faith-based health care organization with 46 hospital campuses and nearly 8,200 licensed beds in 10 states. With 175-beds, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial is one of the six Florida Hospitals in Volusia and Flagler counties that composes the Florida Hospital East Florida Region. As the largest hospital system in the area, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region has 923 beds and more than 6,000 employees. With a mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ, the Florida Hospital East Florida Region collectively contributed nearly $120 million in benefits in 2015 to the underprivileged, the community’s overall health and wellness and spiritual needs, and capital improvements. For more information about Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, visit www.FHFishMemorial.org.
 
Photo Caption:
On Nov. 29, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial celebrated a groundbreaking for Volusia County’s first community garden on a hospital campus. Designed by students from the University of Florida landscape architectural department, and in collaboration with Volusia County University of Florida Agricultural Extension office, the community garden at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial will be available to employees, community members, and local schools. From left to right: Steve Costa, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation board member and chair of the community garden committee; Maureen Mercho, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial Foundation executive director; Danielle Johnson, Florida Hospital Fish Memorial chief operating officer; and Gary Blair, Orange City mayor.