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$1,500 awarded to community food garden project

RIVER FALLS, Wis. 05/29/2014

Allina Health has donated $1,500 to the River Falls Grow to Share community food garden.

The River Falls Area Hospital's employee Caring and Recognition Team made the award after hearing that Grow to Share hoped to use the money toward plants, fencing, straw mulch, seed-starting equipment, and expansion to the children's garden and an all-important port-a-potty.

Grow to Share's primary goal is to improve community access to fresh, locally grown food. Produce grown at the garden is donated to local food shelves and homeless shelters. Low-income families can also sign up for a "share" of the garden, receiving a box of produce weekly. Throughout the growing season, Grow to Share hosts events to educate the community about gardening and the benefits of fresh, local food.

"We love to see a child who thinks they don't like vegetables try a pea fresh off the vine, or a sweet cherry tomato or a rainbow carrot, and learn that vegetables can be very tasty," said Grow to Share president Anna Zalusky. "I couldn't cut vegetables fast enough when the Greenwood second grade class visited!"

Leaders of the Grow to Share garden, located at Hoffman Park East, off Division Street, encourage volunteers to walk or bike to the garden and plan to offer yoga and meditation in the garden to promote both physical and mental health.

"Nutrition, physical activity and mental wellness are the primary focus of Allina Health's community health improvement initiatives," said Heather Logelin, Allina Health's director of community engagement for western Wisconsin. "Grow to Share is uniquely positioned to address all three areas and we are pleased to support their work."

For more information on the Grow to Share garden, or to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit www.growtoshare.org or email growtoshare@gmail.com.

About River Falls Area Hospital

River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health, is a not-for-profit regional medical center committed to providing quality, comprehensive care to patients in western Wisconsin - from disease prevention to innovative diagnostic and treatment services for simple to complex medical conditions. The hospital provides a full range of inpatient, outpatient, cancer care and emergency care services.

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 12 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, home oxygen and medical equipment and emergency medical transportation services

For more information, visit us at allinahealth.org, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Healthy Set Go.