On Monday, September 30, 2013, approximately 40 individuals representing Einstein students, faculty and staff, patients of Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein Cancer Center's B.O.L.D. Program, and members of the local community turned out for an open house hosted by Einstein's BODY Community Garden.
Guests were invited to enjoy the garden space, which includes a walking path, picnic tables, a green space for exercise or meditation, planters plump with crops, and a colorful mural depicting Bronx scenes. They also enjoyed healthful food offerings and the opportunity to take home some of the garden's harvest bounty, which included tomatoes, squash, and an assortment of peppers. And they enjoyed entertainment provided by the musical group Benny and the Joys, featuring first-year medical students, Jenny Wang, Michael Tseng and Julio Innocencio.
"This is beautiful," said Nilsa Austin, a patient who had brought her granddaughter, great-granddaughter and grand-niece to the event. "This garden encourages people to live healthy and take care of their lives. It's also good to show children, so they can see how food is produced."
Nilsa's eight-year-old grand-niece agreed. "This is neat. I like the food and I'm taking home tomatoes. I love tomatoes."
"We've watched this empty lot become this beautiful garden," said Dr. Leiping Fu, a Ph.D. alumnus of Einstein (Class of 2007), who came with his wife Hui Zhang, a member of Einstein's development and molecular biology department, and their sons.
"The boys like eating vegetables, and it's great that they can see where their food comes from," said Ms. Zhang.
The BODY Garden was created by members of Einstein's BODY Club (BODY stands for Bronx, Obesity, Diabetes and You). The club was conceived of by now fourth-year medical student Ross Kristal, who sought a way to address the issues of obesity and diabetes that are prevalent health problems among residents of the Bronx.
"Our garden is here for the community," said Julie Nadel, a current student leader of the club who is pursuing a Ph.D. in genetics. "We hope the local community, Montefiore patients and their families, and folks from Einstein will come to the garden, whether seeking a peaceful place to meditate or to tend to the garden."
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