Karla Patrick of Cambridge, MN is no stranger to taking care of her community. As the leader of Cambridge Medical Center’s Wellness Leadership Team, Karla prioritizes wellness for fellow employees as well as the surrounding community. In 2015, she extended that care to the Cambridge Medical Center Giving Garden, a 4’ by 10’ plot that has produced almost 700 pounds of produce in the past eight years.
The Giving Garden donates about 90% of its produce to local food charities, which helps to address the problem of food insecurity in the Cambridge area. Employees volunteer to work in the garden, which gives them a way to connect with the land and with each other. Then, they take turns distributing the veggies—Karla says that people often wait at the door to get some of the garden’s produce and that they love seeing dirt still on the vegetables.
Karla’s role is to organize the garden and connect the growers with resources, such as advice from local master gardeners. She also finds funding from sources like a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Her advice for anyone interested in starting their own Giving Garden is to start small, get creative with funding, and ask around for help when you need it.
Congratulations Karla on being one of the 10 winners from across the state for your ongoing dedication to caring for Minnesota’s natural places.