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Growing food, growing healthy communities: Opportunities for the European healthcare sector

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A view of the the Pasteur Clinic rooftop garden.

Action Opportunity: An on-site vegetable garden can support greater provision of organic and seasonal products within healthcare facilities, and can form a crucial part of a sustainable food strategy.

Author: Paola Hernández Olivan, Food Policy & Projects Officer – HCWH Europe
Health Care Without Harm Europe
December 2020


This document explores how European health- care providers are already realising a host of com- plementary benefits from growing healthy and sustainable food within their facilities. It outlines a number of case studies showcasing successful initiatives from across Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe’s network and discusses the opportunities and challenges of establishing on-site food growing projects. Finally, it sets out a series of recommended steps drawn from the case stud- ies, which are intended to give direction to other healthcare providers looking to establish similar in- itiatives within their own facilities.

Case Study

Pasteur Clinic – Toulouse, France

The Pasteur Clinic treats more than 70,000 patients annually and employs 1,200 people. In France, the clinic is considered a pioneer of gardening in healthcare. In collaboration with urban agriculture enterprise Macadam Gardens, the clinic created a 500m2 vegetable garden in 2014 on the roof of the radiotherapy and oncology building.

The garden is managed by Macadam Gardens, along with current and former staff, caregivers, and patients – especially those suffering from chronic diseases. When volume allows, the garden pro- vides the kitchen with organic fruits vegetables and aromatic herbs for the 1,200 meals served at the clinic each day to patients and employees. This helps improve security and reduce food costs.
The clinic has always offered homemade meals, but the chef wanted greater control over the supply of organic and seasonal products, and requested a vegetable garden to supply food more locally and more sustainably. Beyond producing healthy food for the clinic, the rooftop garden helps to create different connections between patients and caregivers outside of medical care. It also serves as an educational tool for researchers, students, and schoolchildren providing “discovery tours” and education on the loss of biodiversity.

The cost to the clinic was €20,000, which gave a re- turn over five years. The technical director is already considering using space on the clinic’s patio to create further vegetable gardens that chemotherapy patients can take advantage of during treatment.

Read the complete report here.


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