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New VUMC vegetable garden in need of green-thumbed helpers

VUMC GardenVanderbilt University Medical Center Human Resources has once again partnered with the VUMC Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and Rooted Community Health initiative to help employees stay rooted in good health. To further emphasize healthy eating as part of that effort, the group is planting a vegetable garden on the main campus and is seeking willing participants to help care for and maintain it.

“Since we are responsible for the upkeep, we need employees who are willing to help. No special skills are needed — just a desire to be outdoors and learn about gardening,” said Marsha Burton, HR communications manager. “We’re looking for people to give about an hour a week to weed, water and keep the garden tidy. But really, anyone passing by the garden can help. If you see a weed and have time, pull it.”

 The garden, which is located near the ambulance entrance of Medical Center North, right off Medical Center Drive, will feature a variety of vegetables and herbs, including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme and chives. The garden is organic; gardeners will use organic pest control and soil management, and the garden beds were built with cedar wood rather than pre-treated lumber.

John Compton, M.Div., program coordinator for Rooted Community Health, said the group is also soliciting names for the garden that will highlight its connection to the Rooted Community Health mission of “engaging the VUMC community in service to ecological sustainability, health promotion and human flourishing, and an ethically responsible understanding of our interdependency as a community within the vision of population health.”

The garden will also serve as an educational tool, helping to teach employees about growing healthy food and implementing healthier eating habits through informational placards and fresh food cooking classes. 

If you are interested in helping maintain the VUMC community garden, please complete the form below or email Marsha Burton at