Official opening and benefit builds culture of appreciation for fresh produce
STONY BROOK, N.Y., September 19, 2012 – The official opening and benefit for the Stony Brook Heights Rooftop Farm served up a tantalizing mix of fresh vegetable plates and other delights for attendees at the September 10 event. A collaborative effort of the Nutrition Division, Department of Family Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook University Hospital Food Service, and Stony Brook University’s Sustainability Studies Program, the farm supplements the nutrition and food offerings to hospital patients. This year’s crop has produced more than 400 pounds with 33 varieties of vegetables and herbs harvested.
The Stony Brook Heights Rooftop Farm is supported by a New York State Department of Health Healthy Heart Program Grant through 2014. The farm is located on the roof of the fourth floor of Stony Brook’s Health Sciences tower and is managed by staff nutritionists, dietetic interns, and Sustainability Studies students. All of the food grown, which includes vegetables such as tomatoes, string beans and zucchini, is served to hospital patients. The collaborative group hopes to expand the farm and produce enough in 2013 to donate a portion of the harvest to organizations that need fresh food.
“This farm provides a learning laboratory for Nutrition and Sustainability Studies students,” said Josephine Connolly-Schoonen, PhD, RD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, Executive Director of the Nutrition Division, Stony Brook University School of Medicine. “Students explore ways to use the farm fresh herbs and vegetables to entice patients to eat more nutrition-packed foods, in order to help them maximize their health, potentially prevent disease progression, and help them develop good eating habits before they go home.”
“Our benefit, the farm and its bounty help build a culture of appreciation for locally-grown produce among students, faculty, and staff,” added Iman Marghoob, MS, RD, Community Gardens Coordinator and Manager of the Rooftop Farm.
Food tastings, music, a vegetable auction and book signing highlighted the benefit, which was hosted by the Three Village Inn. Stony Brook University Hospital’s own chef, John Mastacciuola, chef Guy Reuge of Mirabelle, chef Tom Schaudel of Jewel, and chef Lia Fallon of Amarelle, served samplings of locally-grown and seasonal cuisine. Leeann Lavin, author of the “Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook,” harpist Laura Goldstein, and farmer/poet Scott Chaskey of Quail Hill Farm also took part in the festivities.
Stony Brook’s Nutrition Division partners with other organizations in the development of community gardens. The Stony Brook Heights Rooftop Farm is a model for each of the 10 community gardens throughout Suffolk County, which are also supported by the New York State Department of Health grant.
About Stony Brook Medicine:
Stony Brook Medicine integrates and elevates all of Stony Brook University’s health-related initiatives: education, research and patient care. It includes five Health Sciences schools — Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Welfare — as well as Stony Brook University Hospital and 35 community-based healthcare settings throughout Suffolk County. To learn more, visit www.stonybrookmedicine.edu.