Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Update #3 - Cancer Victory Garden in New Jersey

Here is the final update from the 2010 Cancer Victory Garden at the Trinitas Cancer Center in Elizabeth, NJ!
Diana -

Regretfully, we got word that we can't use the courtyard at Trinitas for gardening--at least for this year.  However, the good news is that I'll be doing another indoor garden next year, and the complementary medicine RN will work on starting a healing garden at that time.  At least this got the ball rolling!

I did distribute the plants as I was getting so many requests for the plants (mostly the cilantro).  I wound up putting them in the plastic cups primarily to save the cost of individual planters. Each plant had a label on its cup stating what the plant was, along with strict instructions to re-pot into a container with drainage.  I even sent an email out to the staff the next day to remind them to re-pot the plants.  I also included info about how some of the herbs can be used plus a recipe for taboulleh to use the parsley).  Even employees that I didn't know very well were stopping by and asking for a plant.  It was quite a social event for the patients as well.

Thanks for all your blog postings.   I'm home today from work and plan to read the recent issue of our Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group newsletter ("Connections") about all the cancer victory gardens.  Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with things to do, but then I see you writing blogs, writing articles, giving presentations, farming, cooking, having your sons wedding soon, etc, and it truly reminds me how much we can all do.  Thanks for the inspiration that you share with your colleagues and cancer patients everywhere.  :) 

Here's my final pictures to you of our 2010 Cancer Victory Garden.  Good luck on all your exciting endeavors.     
My best,       

Latha requested the first cilantro plant 

Tray of gorgeous, fragrant oregano ready to be distributed to patients and staff

One nurse asked to help pot the herbs.  (too bad she didn't tell the doctor, who was searching for her and found her with dirt on her gloves!)

All those plants going to a new home with love. Thanks for sharing your love for good food and nutrition with your cancer community, showing everyone that it all starts with "nutrition from the ground up".
I'm going to end with a short poem by one of my favorite writers, a farmer-poet-philosopher, Wendell Berry.  His words speak to and reinforce Cheryl's efforts to cultivate her community within her own cancer center, which is so important for both the people coming there for care and hope and also for the people providing that hope through their professional care and caring.  

“Because a community is, by definition, placed,
its success cannot be divided from the success of its place....
its soil, forests, grasslands, plants and animals, water, light, and air.
The two economies, the natural and the human, support each other;
each is the other's hope of a durable and livable life."

~~Wendell Berry
Please keep us informed next year when your indoor gardens begin again and your cancer center's courtyard gets an update and new life added to it! How fortunate the Trinitas Cancer Center is to have this new annual tradition to look forward to and participate in!

Cultivating health through a garden's nourishment of both body and soul,
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

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