Health Matters: Honey bees play big role in fresh food at Arkansas Heart Hospital

Health Matters

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Arkansas Heart Hospital has a unique approach to serving healthy food, and its smallest employees are making a big difference in the process.

The hospital has between 30,000 and 60,000 honey bees that are playing a big role in the hospital garden, making sure it’s providing the freshest fruits and vegetables to its patients.

“They serve a great function for us in the garden because our objective is to produce as much food as well can,” says Jon Bierman, Arkansas Heart Hospital Gardener.

It’s the hospital’s organic approach to healing. Jon Bierman calls the honey bees his garden assistants. They spend a lot of time in their hive, but these pollinators also stick around the plants. KARK 4 TODAY Anchor, Susanne Brunner, suited up to get a closer look at the beehive. The bees were calm, they didn’t sting, but they sure bring a lot of honey to the cafeteria table.

“There’s a lot of evidence that horticultural therapy is an important part of healing so I welcome that and it’s an important part that every hospital should have a garden,” says Bierman.

The fruits and vegetables harvested from the garden are used in meals the AR Heart Hospital serves to patients. Chefs will base what Bierman and the honey bees flutter in, and tailor it to their menu. Also, the flowers they grow are used for decorating the hospital floors.

“We’re able to produce the best food. I mean there’s no often without refrigeration,” says Bierman.

Bierman believes fresh, organic food is important in the healing process, making this farm to table site a collaboration that’s even sweeter. 

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