Michelle Lutz is the first resident farmer, at a hospital, in Michigan
“Food has an impact on human health, and on environmental health.”
- Michelle Lutz, resident farmer, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital
In November of 2011, Michelle Lutz joined the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital team, and is now in charge of the hospital’s Greenhouse as our resident farmer. She is the first resident farmer at a hospital in Michigan.
Lutz has over 16 years of experience and is a former co-owner of Maple Creek Farm in Yale, MI, an organic vegetable farm which has been a resource to Henry Ford West Bloomfield since its opening in 2009.
At the Greenhouse, Lutz grows a wide variety of produce, including tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, peas, beans, strawberries, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage and herbs. The produce being grown in the Greenhouse is projected to reduce food costs at the hospital by more than $20,000 a year, while providing patients with healthy meals.
A Day at the Farm
A typical day in the Greenhouse involves Lutz making sure the crops receive proper nutrients, starting seeds to provide a continuous supply of lettuce, and monitoring for plant health, insects and signs of disease.
The Greenhouse uses hydroponics (growing plants in water versus soil), to maximize and maintain space for patients staff and visitors. Hydroponics allows growers more control over plant health and uses only 10% of the water needed in soil-based farming. The plants receive what they need daily in organic nutrients, which reduce pests, diseases and weeds.
In addition to feeding patients, the produce is used in other areas of the hospital, including the 90-seat Demonstration Kitchen, Henry’s café and is sold at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield seasonal farmers' market.
Tours, field trips, garden therapy, workshops, and use of the attached educational center Henry Ford West Bloomfield Greenhouse are available to the public.