Thanks to the votes of local residents and a grant from an Oakland ice cream maker, San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital has added a new fruit orchard to its on-site farm and garden.
Dreyer’s Fruit Bars’ Communities Take Root program is a nationwide initiative created in partnership with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to provide orchards to deserving U.S. communities. The company hopes that the orchard planted Monday at Laguna Honda will help the hospital achieve its goals of using homegrown organic food in its kitchen and helping patients interact with nature, said Kerry Hopkins, Dreyer’s brand manager.
“We want our patients to feel the healing effects of nature,” hospital spokesman Marc Slavin said. “A lot of the work that we do is dedicated to getting people outdoors.”
The 62-acre hospital campus already houses a garden and farm.
“The orchard will fit in,” Slavin said. “Tending to the trees, harvesting the fruit and seeing it become part of the daily meals — it’s another way to help people be in touch with their environment and grow and learn about who they are in the context of the surrounding setting.”
The foundation helps design, plan and plant such orchards with the involvement of local volunteers. The hospital got 34,000 votes in the nationwide contest.
“Laguna Honda Hospital is an ideal location for a fruit tree orchard as it will create a setting for creativity and relaxation for residents and visitors, aiding in rehabilitation and health,” said Cem Akin, the foundation’s executive director. “Hope and promise for a greener, healthier community can spring from the seed of a single fruit tree.”