UChicago Medicine has opened a rooftop garden

Rooftop garden

The University of Chicago Medicine nutrition services team has created a garden on the rooftop of Parking Lot B as part of a sodium reduction grant. The goal is to educate and encourage healthy eating habits in the community and promote a higher fresh produce intake in support of healthier lifestyle choices.

Doug Daudell, real estate manager of facilities, received the inspiration from UChicago Medicine clinical dietician Jessica Schultz and from the novel “The Farm on the Roof.”

“It’s an amazing story of the world’s largest rooftop farm in Queens and Brooklyn in New York City,” said Daudell. “The enthusiasm of our team to be able to start something similar and provide education and fresh produce to staff and others really felt like the right thing to do.”

The garden is tended to by the nutrition services team, the grounds team and time donated by Anne Roberts Gardens. Once the produce is harvested, it is used for educational purposes and handed out to staff and visitors as they leave.

According to Daudell, the teams involved hope to increase crop yield and variety, support other areas within the UChicago Medicine community, such as Comer Children’s Hospital, and to expand as time goes on.

“Our intent is to make better use of areas we are required to maintain by the city, and there is a good amount of expense required to do that,” said Daudell. “The spaces would otherwise go to weeds and cost as much or more to maintain. So to counter cost it would be great to educate, communicate and encourage others to participate at the same time.”

The garden is open throughout the fall and located on the perimeters of the parking garage; if you are in the area, stop by and take a look or pick up some fresh vegetables outside of Wyler Pavilion.

The nutritional services team is always looking for new opportunities to observe and educate in the name of health and wellness. If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica at 773-795-5949, jessica.schultz@uchospitals.edu or Doug at 773-702-5714, douglas.daudell@uchospitals.edu.