Last Friday Farm Shop participated in SpringFest, a program of HeartBeets at San Francisco General Hospital. HeartBeets is a superb example of a program working to unite good nutrition, social justice, local food and the medical community.
Launched in 2009, the HeartBeets program is dedicated to increasing patient, staff, and community consumption of locally, naturally grown foods. HeartBeets volunteers collaborate with people and programs throughout the city to foster connections around healthy eating.
Friday’s SpringFest event included speakers, program tables, giveaways, and film screenings. A focal point of much of the activity was the delicious food local chefs created from ingredients grown at the hospital roof- top garden and at Alemany Farm. Much of the produce was also from Capay Valley Farm Shop, thanks to the generous donations made by members last fall.
Among the presenters at the event were teen members of the program Moms Mentoring Moms, a support network for young mothers at Hilltop High School in the Mission. The young women gathered to share what they’ve learned in cooking classes with local chefs. One SFSU intern remarked on how inspiring the mothers’ commitment is to their own health and that of their children.
Also in attendance was Alice Carruthers from Alemany Farm, who highlighted the role community gardens can play in encouraging people to eat more local fruits and vegetables. Alumni from the Medical Respite and Sobering Center South of Market shared healthy eating tips for homeless and marginally housed people who’ve recently been discharged from the hospital. Representatives from the Chinatown Public Health Center and Potrero Hill Health Center were present as well, and shared their strategies for engaging clients in nutrition projects and local gardens.
All in all, the event was a great success, bringing together patients and hospital employees alike in a festive atmosphere to promote healthy, local food.
This summer the HeartBeets Wellness Team will produce the hospital’s first SummerFest, emphasizing the benefits of exercise and enjoying San Francisco’s great outdoors. The FallFest will celebrate the harvest with a focus on how people with chronic diseases promote healing through food and the Wellness team will take the lead again next winter, emphasizing the importance of slowing down to renew and reflect.
This article is written by Laurie Sterling of SFGH HeartBeets