Lake Region Takes Root
The local foods project of Lake Region Healthcare is part of our growing commitment to wellness and preventive health care. To achieve optimal health, people in our region need access to affordable fresh produce. This project is a means of achieving this important element of contributing to a healthier community. View our Project Brochure.
We need volunteers to keep our garden growing! No special skills needed - just people who want to help. Read more about the garden's volunteer opportunities.
2016: 9,300 pounds of food helping over 3,500 individuals
2015: 7781 pounds of food helping over 3,500 individuals
2014: 4,500 pounds of food helping over 3,000 individuals
2013: 1,600 pounds of food helping over 1,000 individuals
All food is donated to Otter Tail County WIC families and area food shelves.
Other major milestones so far include:
- Donation of funds & labor to construct a high tunnel to extend our growing season (thanks to Fergus Falls Noon Rotary)
- Addition of a grill and several benches & tables to our education area on the Pergola
- Planting the Orchard (thanks to LRH Employee Donations)
- Construction of the Pergola (thanks to Home Depot Foundation)
- Paver Patio at the Pergola (thanks to Home Depot Foundation & Noon Rotary)
- Placement & Planting of 22 re-purposed raised bed gardens (from the Otter Garden)
- Construction of several additional gardens (thanks to service clubs, boy scouts & girl scouts)
- Installation of permanent water source (thanks to PartnerSHIP4Health grant)
- Placement of a storage shed (thanks to a private donor)
- General garden design, preparation, maintenance, and development thanks to dozens of individual, non-profit, and corporate partners (many who are listed below)
- Partnership with a University of Minnesota Design Team from Central Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. CSBR’s Design for Community Resilence pragram is creating a Master Plan for LRTR, including future phases and ongoing infrastructure projects such as a packing and receiving shed and handicapped accessible gardening spaces.
What: Lake Region Healthcare along with other community partners is growing foods for families having difficulty accessing healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables through a project called Lake Region Takes Root.
This initiative was developed to meet a specific need identified through the 2012 Community Health Assessment conducted by Lake Region Healthcare and Otter Tail County Public Health which indicated families with children under 21 years of age are concerned about the ability to access fresh fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. A 1.5 acre parcel of land located at 260 Kennedy Park Circle in Fergus Falls was donated to Lake Region Healthcare to make an impact on health. Using this resource to grow local whole foods is a natural fit with our organization’s vision & commitment to improving community health.
The project is equally about community education. The facility is designed to be a place where people of all ages can learn the value of foods, importance of nutrient dense foods and experience a variety of growing methodologies aimed at inspiring residents to grow a portion of their own foods. Educators, master gardeners, dietitians, and other wellness experts use the facility for hands on learning & educational opportunities.
Who: Foods grown at the site will be used to serve Women Infant’s and Children’s (WIC) clients of Otter Tail County. Any overage of foods will be donated to area Food Shelf organizations. The development of the site, planting, maintenance, harvesting and distribution activities is be a collaboration of partnerships with individuals and organizations that are committed to improving our local foods system.
Why: Chronic disease for such things as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes accounts for an estimated 75 percent of all health care spending in the U.S.
Eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Yet access to fresh local whole foods can be a challenge for many families and individuals.
We all have a stake in supporting the health of our community members.
Where: The land is located on the west edge of Fergus Falls at 260 Kennedy Park Circle, just south of the Lake Region Healthcare Walk-In Clinic and west of Home Depot.
When: First phase of planting of vegetables in raised bed gardens and fruit trees in the orchard began in May of 2013. The entire project will be phased in over the course of the next several years depending upon resources and available funding.
How can you be involved?
- Recruit your club or organization to help with a one day project or a long-term service effort
- Volunteer to work on special projects, planting days, maintaining the garden, harvesting or distribution of foods
- Share your expertise with our planners
- Help with fundraising
- Donate money or extra/unused gardening tools/supplies or equipment
Following are some of the needs identified for the Community Garden project. PEOPLE/VOLUNTEERS ARE OUR #1 NEED! This project presents a great opportunity for youth groups, service clubs, organizations and individuals to be a part of an amazing community impact project.
- Lawn Tractor and Tiller
- Above/Underground water storage tanks
- Weed Barrier
- Wood & landscaping blocks for raised bed gardens
- Perennial plants
- Garden & Soaker hoses
- Garden & pruning shears
- Compost Bins
- Tomato Cages, Plant Stakes & Aisle Markers
- Shower Wands
- Shepherds hooks, bird houses & bird seed
- Donors & Grant Writers
- Groups to build raised bed gardens
- Experts in orchards, vegetables, flowers, composting, landscaping
- Financial contributions
If you are interested in volunteering please contact the Volunteer Office at 218.736.8498.
If you have questions about the garden project or its needs please contact Jason at 701.306.5280.
Financial contributions are also welcome to help meet annual expenses related to supplies and maintenance.
Financial contributions are tax deductible and can be made through the LRH Foundation online, in person at at 712 Cascade St. S., Fergus Falls, MN 56537 or by calling 218.736.8193.
Thank You Donors
We are extremely grateful for the tremendous community support of this endeavor. There are individual donors of time, talent, goods and money that are too numerous to mention. We also extend appreciation to these business and organizations who have made generous contributions toward the progress of this initiative:
- Anderson Land Surveying
- Bluebird Gardens
- Butler Cat
- City of Fergus Falls
- Cullens Home Center
- Delzer Construction
- Feel Good Gardens
- Fergus Falls Community Food Shelf
- Fergus Falls School District
- Forget Me Not
- Harold Stanislawski
- Hanson's Plumbing
- Hutchins Tree Service
- Lake Region Healthcare Foundation
- Otter Electric
- Otter Tail Power
- Outdoor Rennovations
- PartnerSHIP 4 Health
- RDO Equipment
- Swedberg Nursery
- The National Gardening Association and Mantis Tiller 2014 donor
- Volden Construction
- West Otter Tail County Master Gardener Association
- West Otter Tail Soil & Water Conservation District
U of M Design Team Recommendations
Funded by NW and Central Region Sustainable Development Partnerships, the University of Minnesota's Center for Sustainable Building Research in the fall of 2014 worked on a Master Plan for Lake Region Takes Root, including future phases and ongoing infrastructure projects. You can access the report at the following links:
Summary of Priorities Identified
Report Section 1(Research & Precedents)
Report Section 2 (Input)
Report Section 3 (Design & Recommendations)
Check out this video produced by the Minnesota Department of Health and this piece created by the Minnesota Department of Human Services for more about our garden story.