It may seem odd to have a farmer’s market at a hospital, but one begs to differ. According to the Daily Press, the Riverside Regional Medical Center says it’s another way of “helping people get healthier and happier.”
Taking into consideration the result of a recent study, which found that 75% of Americans agree that spending time outside is important, the market is sure to bring many visitors.
The building of the farmers market will be under the watch of Randy Pingley, grounds manager for the Newport News hospital. He oversees the gardens in which many of the food sold will come from.
“The newest thing is the Riverside Farmers Market,” said Pingley. “A year ago, Dr. Eric Stone, our associate administrator, came to me with the idea, and sent me numerous articles on this trend in health care, establishing farmers markets on hospital grounds. He wanted our patients, visitors and employees to have the ability to walk outside the hospital and obtain locally grown produce, which is a direct and visual correlation between health, wellness and diet.”
Over the years, Pingley has helped enhance the hospital’s landscapes. The hospital is so well known for its well-maintained grounds that it placed fourth in a 2015 competition of the most beautiful hospitals out of 300. This is the highest it has placed; in 2013, it got closer when it placed 14th.
“I decided to take a nice patio that was already at the facility, and plant it so that it felt as if you were in your own private garden,” Pingley continued. “We had a large shade pergola constructed as well as installed several water features. I lost a grandfather to cancer in 1989 and my mother-in-law in 2012. She was actually treated at Riverside and really enjoyed coming out to the cafeteria pond as well as the Cancer Center patio garden. Both of these areas mean a great deal to me.”
Pingley himself is a resident of Newport News and discovered his love for landscaping while working two jobs and attending college. One of which was at McDonald Garden Center. There he learned plant names, soil amendments, and chemicals, and he also maintained a side business of mowing lawns and installing landscapes.
The new farmer’s market will be open on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. until the fall.