Heart-Healthy Garden Program: ‘The Gift that Keeps on Giving’

Don Tedrow in Ross Heart Garden

Don Tedrow assists another Ross Heart Hospital Community Garden participant harvest radishes after a summer 2015 healthy living class.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Don Tedrow’s heart is full of gratitude.

In January 2015, Tedrow was shopping at a home improvement store when he began feeling “strange, feeling some pressure,” he said.

He went home, and he and his wife headed to the Emergency Department at the The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

“They kept me overnight, did some tests, and found out I had an 80 percent blockage in my main artery,” Tedrow said.

After a stent was inserted to open the blockage, Tedrow participated in the medical center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.

“That was excellent,” he said. “A life-changer.”

While there, Tedrow learned about the new Ross Heart Hospital Community Garden program, a collaboration between the medical center and Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), which he participated in during the summer.

“It was the perfect follow-up,” Tedrow said, “because I had learned how to exercise in rehab, but I didn’t know what to do with my diet.”

The program, which combines gardening with healthy-living classes, started in 2015. It was the brainchild of Jim Warner, food and nutrition program director with the medical center’s food service administration. Warner also is involved with a similar program with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

To read more: http://go.osu.edu/heartgarden


OARDC scientists nab national honors; have ‘positive impact on society’

Ken Lee (photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

Ken Lee (photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

Prominent professional groups recently honored two Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center scientists, one of whom works on food and health, one on alternative rubber production.

In December, Ken Lee, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He joined four other Ohio State faculty members who were elected to the association last year.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake said Ohio State’s new AAAS Fellows “demonstrate the wide reach of Ohio State research. They exemplify the university’s mission of creating the knowledge and discoveries that make a difference in people’s lives.”

Also in December, Katrina Cornish, professor in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science and Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Cornish was one of two inductees — along with Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre — from Ohio State in 2015.

Katrina Cornish (photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES)

Bruce McPheron, the university’s interim executive vice president and provost, said, “We at Ohio State are extremely proud of the accomplishments of Drs. Whitacre and Cornish. Their contributions to innovation are superb examples of the positive impact that the university has on society.”

Impact: Good food and health, sustainable rubber

  • Lee, who specializes in innovative ways to improve the human condition through food, is the director and lead investigator of Ohio State’s Food Innovation Center.
  • Cornish, who’s developing new, more sustainable sources of natural rubber, holds the Endowed Chair in Bio-based Emergent Materials and is an Ohio Research Scholar.

Read more here and here.

Boosting urban food security — and with it, farms and nutrition

Cleveland’s Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market is one of more than two dozen farmers markets in and around Cuyahoga County participating in the Produce Perks program. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

Cleveland’s Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market is one of more than two dozen farmers markets in and around Cuyahoga County participating in the Produce Perks program. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

A program called Produce Perks is tackling northeast Ohio’s urban food deserts while boosting small farms and food security.

Participating farmers’ markets give two-for-one incentive tokens, or “Produce Perks,” to customers who use an Ohio Direction Card — their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — to buy food. The program provides a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10 for every dollar spent at the market on produce.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition — established by local food leaders, including Ohio State University Extension’s Cuyahoga County office — runs the program.

“Produce Perks has brought many low-income and food-insecure residents to farmers’ markets for the first time,” said Nico Boyd, formerly the community development coordinator in the office and the coalition’s project coordinator. “Not only does it help stretch people’s food dollars to buy more fresh, local produce, it keeps food dollars here.”

“Families can stretch their food dollars by utilizing Produce Perks to double their whole-food purchases,” said Veronica Walton, who manages the Gateway 105 Farmers’ Market in Cleveland for the Famicos Foundation. “The relaxed atmosphere at farmers markets is perfect for conversations about meal preparation, food storage and preservation, all of which decrease food insecurities.”


  • Some 55 percent of Clevelanders live in food deserts. People in food deserts have little access to fresh, healthy, affordable food.
  • OSU Extension’s Cuyahoga County office recently expanded Produce Perks to include 30 area farmers markets. A subgrant from Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit targeting food issues, funded the expansion.
  • Another Wholesome Wave subgrant allowed OSU Extension’s Hamilton County office to expand a produce buying incentive program in greater Cincinnati.
  • When the Broadway Farmers’ Market in Cleveland’s Slavic Village joined the Produce Perks program, it saw a 191 percent increase in Ohio Direction Card sales in a single year, according to an article in northeast Ohio’s Fresh Water e-magazine.

Learn more about the Produce Perks program here.

Kale! Kale! The gang’s all here … in an Ohio State greenhouse growing veggies for students

Lesa Holford, right, corporate executive chef with Ohio State University's Student Life Dining Services department, and Courtney George, a sophomore food science major, tend plants they’ve helped grow in a university greenhouse. (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain, CFAES  Communications.)

Lesa Holford, right, corporate executive chef with Ohio State University’s Student Life Dining Services department, and Courtney George, a sophomore food science major, tend kale and basil plants in a university greenhouse. (Photo: K.D. Chamberlain, CFAES Communications.)

There’s a new spin to eating on campus.

Ohio State’s Student Life Dining Services department and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences have teamed to grow some of the produce served in the university’s dining halls.

In a greenhouse run by the college’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, plant experts from the department, food experts with Dining Services and student volunteers oversee hundreds of robust kale, basil and romaine lettuce plants.

After harvest, the crops go into such dishes as Caesar salads, caprese sandwiches, and kale and bacon tarts (recipe here), all served in campus eateries.

Systems like this one are part of the growing “farm-to-table” movement. Farm-to-table systems aim to shorten the distance as much as possible between where a food is produced and where it’s consumed.

Fresh from the Buckeyes’ backyard

  • Horticulture and Crop Science staff “have taught us so much,” said Lesa Holford, corporate executive chef with Student Life Dining Services. She said she’s more than pleased with the project’s first fruits: more than 230 pounds of greens and herbs in the first three months.
  • Zia Ahmed, senior director of Student Life Dining Services, said, “One day (the project) may lead to a significant amount of production coming out of our own backyard to feed our students. … It’s a great privilege to have the opportunity to grow our own food.”
  • To contact the sources: Lesa Holford at holford.8@osu.edu; Zia Ahmed at ahmed.290@osu.edu.

Read more.