Cork University Hospital, the first healthcare facility in the world to be awarded a Green Flag for its work on environmental management and sustainable healthcare, serves more than 1m meals every year.
In an attempt to expand its sustainable healthcare initiatives, the hospital reaches out to the community to provide local, seasonal herbs and vegetables to its patients and staff.
Churchfield Community Trust offers training, work, and enterprise skills to disadvantaged young men in the north of Cork City with a particular focus on horticulture, as well as adult education, woodwork, and catering skills.
The project offers CCT an opportunity to further develop its horticulture programme with the potential to become self-sustaining.
CUH executive chef Tony McNamara said this initiative allows the hospital to take ownership of where some of its food is produced.
It also provides an opportunity to modify menus to include seasonal vegetables and herbs that may not be available from wholesalers.
The initiative also creates a connection between the patients and their food as there is a strong possibility that they may be from the area where the food has been grown.
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