COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – From healthcare to harvest, one local Columbus non-profit healthcare clinic looks forward to celebrating the fruits and vegetables of their labor, one year later.
It’s the garden that keeps on giving as MercyMed of Columbus is celebrating the first anniversary of the new and expanded MercyMed farm on September 21, 2021, after planting the first seed on that same date, one year ago.
Fast forward to one year later, the field is full and fresh. Dr. Grant Scarborough of MercyMed says it’s all a part of the clinic’s mission to connect healthcare to healthy living.
“One of our biggest issues that we have is we want folks to eat healthy and exercise. When you don’t do that, you really struggle with diabetes, high blood pressure, and all these other things that come along, medical problems that happen, our goal is not to just to treat folks medically, but change the way they think about how they live, let’s get them to eat healthy, let’s get them exercising,” said Scarborough.
Big ideas often have small beginnings and that’s certainly the case here. MercyMed began their efforts by creating a small farm behind the clinic and now it’s expanded to just more than an acre of land.
The new and expanded farm sits on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 38th street in Columbus, and as Farmer Keith Sims shares, that’s all thanks to the generosity of a local philanthropist who saw the vision early on.
“To see that it was nothing on this land, to now plants everywhere, grass growing, flowers blooming, and it’s only going to get better from here,” said Sims.
Sims says it’s just as important to know the name of your farmer as it is to know the name of your doctor, because he believes the two go hand in hand. Dr. Scarborough agrees.
“I hate using medicine, let’s be honest, I rather prescribe you 30 tomatoes a week than to have to give you a pill every day to lower your blood pressure. If we look back 100’s of years ago, we didn’t have a lot of these medical problems because of the way we ate and how we had to walk everywhere, so it’s really our goal to get back to healthy living,” said Dr. Scarborough.
And while the farm isn’t a ‘fix all,’ the team at MercyMed believes it’s a step in the right direction.
“This farm will not feed the entirety of Columbus, and not even the entirety of North Highlands, but it can inspire everyone to grow your own food,” said Sims.
And while the first year of the expanded farm exceeded efforts, the team at MercyMed has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“The bottom line is not necessarily how many tomatoes we hand out, it’s are we making people healthier? And that’s what gets me excited about looking forward with that future aspect,” said Dr. Scarborough.
Sims hopes that while the farms continues to be a place of beauty, he also hopes the space can be safe for everyone in the community while looking ahead to the future.
“Picnics, volleyball games, kids feel invited and safe, in a beautiful garden, in the middle of a community that they grew up in,” said Sims.
Moving forward, Dr. Scarborough and the team at MercyMed hope to continue connecting the dots between healthcare and healthy living by offering recipes and culinary classes in the near future.
To support MercyMed’s farm efforts, you’re invited to purchase produce from the farm on certain Friday’s throughout the year for Farm Stand Friday.