background image

Food self-sufficiency: healthy gardens


Feeding is a physiological act that involves social and cultural interactions. The history of hospital nutrition and diet therapy has developed in parallel to medical science and sociocultural evolution.

Throughout history, food has gone from being a factor of strict survival to an element that is capable of modifying survival and converting it into a life that is adequate, healthy, deficient or disproportionate.

The relationship between food and health has been considered essential since the age of Classical Greek medicine. As Hippocrates indicated:

Let your medicine be your food and food be your medicine.”

Current problem

Hospital food is a complex industrial process that involves multiple actors and action plans.

Professionals working in the hospital food industry constantly try to improve the quality, portion sizes, preparation and cooking techniques, menu breadth, diet request systems, and ease of orderly access to food for patients. admitted, meal times, etc.

All of these initiatives contribute to maintaining and improving the nutritional status of patients and, above all, to reduce the percentage of discarded food.

The problem of industrialized food with preservatives and agrochemicals that are harmful to our health leads us to notice that, little by little, we are introducing the concept of green hospitals with the desire to get involved in actions that help us take care of the environment.


The quality of the diet and the clinical condition of the patient can be a cause of decreased nutrient consumption and hospital malnutrition, which increases the length of stay and healthcare costs.

The severity of physical conditions such as overweight and obesity are related to the consumption of ultra-processed products with high amounts of sugar, sodium and fat, which increases the morbidity and mortality rate.

To counteract this, we propose healthy gardens and the production of healthy natural resources without pesticides or agrochemicals for food self-sufficiency in solidarity with the environment.


The techniques of the gastronomic industry together with hospital dietetics have promoted the continuous improvement of quality processes required by health accreditation standards and the same competition in the sector.

The regulation of hospital gardens provides a self-sufficient and healthy diet for the consumption of patients and staff, taking advantage of all the resources that nature provides to produce healthy vegetables.

Where we're heading

Health institutions with organic gardens and homemade preparations without pesticides tend towards self-sufficiency, allowing the hospital to nourish and preserve healthy diets through the systematization of hospital processes, habits and problems.

These gardens also have a secondary purpose as therapeutic spaces for patients where conditions are generated to recover productive, work and social bonding habits.

This self-production allows access to a great nutritional contribution, as well as generating savings in the institutional economy.


Healthy gardens are productive and valuable since they allow us to access quality vitamins and minerals, which positively influences a better and faster recovery of patients, as well as reducing costs.

Its formation contributes to making hospitals institutions that promote environmental care and sanitation with great value on a human scale. 

illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

Did you enjoy this illuminem voice? Support us by sharing this article!
author photo

About the authors

Marcelo Fabian Saitta is a university specialist in pediatrics belonging to a team of doctors interested in the environment and its place in health.

author photo

Laura Silvia Adduci is a university specialist in neurosurgery belonging to a team of doctors interested in the environment and its place in health.

author photo

María Verónica Viñas Chacior is a university specialist in general surgery belonging to a team of doctors interested in the environment and its place in health.

author photo

Dr. Diego Balverde is an Economist at the European Central Bank and has extensive experience in climate finance. He is currently also an Advisory Member of the Council of Foreign Trade at The World Bank. Diego is very active on the international sustainability stage having attended COP27 as a Circular economy for Climate Change specialist and will also be attending the G20 Conference in India as part of the Energy, Sustainability and Climate Task Force. Diego holds a PhD in Foreign trade from Chapman University and an MBA degree from Cambridge Judge Business School.

Other illuminem Voices

Related Posts

You cannot miss it!

Weekly. Free. Your Top 10 Sustainability & Energy Posts.

You can unsubscribe at any time (read our privacy policy)