(CBS DETROIT)– Beyond the employee entrance at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital lies something very unique.

“So welcome to our newest hospital-based farm at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland,” said Director of Farming and Healthy Lifestyles at Trinity Health Michigan Amanda Sweetman during an interview Tuesday.

READ MORE: Michigan Congressman: Federal Virus Aid Wasn't For Elected Officials

That’s right a farm located right on the hospital grounds. The garden just over an acre will provide fresh produce for patients, hospital staff and members of the community. Sweetman says they are working to promote healthier living.

“We can really like return to our roots and bring this idea of again food is medicine into our healthcare practice and out into the community,” said Sweetman.

The farm in Pontiac is the newest hospital-based farm within the healthcare system. A similar much larger farm located at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor has been there 11 years. During the pandemic in 2020 they donated produce to 1,300 patients and distributed over 11,000 boxes of produce to members of the community including food-insecure families. Volunteers from United Wholesale Mortgage working on the flower garden area of the farm on Tuesday say, this is exactly what the community needs.

“I think it’s amazing I think everybody should have that option honestly there should be more of it and more people out here doing it for people,” said Tabitha Barnett, she and a handful of co-workers from United Wholesale Mortgage volunteered to work on the farm a few hours Tuesday.

The flower garden is not only there to beautify the area, pretty soon it’ll serve a significant purpose and hopefully put a smile on some patients faces.

“If you’re having a bad day and maybe your grandmother is in for the 3rd time and need some support, you can come out and cut and make bouquets,” Sweetman said.

READ MORE: GM Issues 2nd Bolt Recall; Faulty Batteries Can Cause Fires

The farm not only provides fresh produce like, tomatoes, lettuce, and kale, but classes will be provided for staff and visitors, to learn about living a healthy lifestyle

Hospital colleagues and local members of the community are invited to volunteer at the farm by e-mailing OaklandFarm@stjoeshealth.org.

 

Members of the community interested in participating in the farm share program can sign up at https://stjoesfarm.org/st-joes-oakland-farm-share/.

 

Those interested in donating funds to support farm operations and programing can visit https://giving.stjoeshealth.org/oakland-farm-donation-form

© 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

MORE NEWS: Michigan Reports 1,295 New COVID-19 Cases, 21 Deaths