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American Family Children's Hospital

Amy's Garden: A Tribute, and a Philosophy in Practice

American Bistro chef's assistant Patrick Huttenhoff with some of Amy's Garden's early returns.Amy's Garden, the rooftop garden that recently opened at UW Health at The American Center, is a logical extension of the organization's wellness-focused mission and a tribute to a woman who derived so much joy and comfort from the act of gardening.


The Amy from whom the garden takes its name was Amy Sheehan, late wife of UW Health at The American Center president John Sheehan.


An accomplished health care executive who contributed to developing the Geisinger Medical Center Women's Health Services program in Pennsylvania, Amy sustained a passion for gardening before succumbing to complications from Type 1 diabetes in 2013.


John Sheehan and family and friends raised the funds to jumpstart the rooftop garden.


Early work in Amy's Garden from the Spring of 2016.“Our family thought this would be a good remembrance for her because she really loved gardening, loved being in the outdoors, loved making things beautiful,” he said in an interview with the Sun Prairie Star at the garden's grand opening on July 8.


The garden also represents a manifestation of the philosophy that informs much of UW Health at The American Center's work. Fresh, local and sustainably-grown food has been available at The American Bistro from its first day, and sous chef David Zanger plans to pepper future menus with the garden's bounty.


Zanger has already used some of the garden's basil and cucumbers, and soon will be able create fresh, healthy menu options for patients and staff from the zucchini, peppers, sprounts, tomatoes, beets, leeks and sage that will soon be ready for harvest.


Seeds give way to buds, and buds to produce, destined for the American Bistro menu.Amy's Garden will also provide a sanctuary for patients who want a peaceful, outdoor space to eat a meal, read a book or just get away from the hospital room to stroll quietly amongst the rows of produce.


Known as a strident advocate for patients, Amy Sheehan would have undoubtedly approved of this ancillary benefit her garden affords.


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Date Published: 07/15/2016

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