Finally! A Greek public servant started to think beyond the narrow paragraphs of bureaucracy and take advantage of given possibilities and options for the shake and benefit of the public. The CEO of Sismanoglio public hospital in Athens paved the way for a radical utilization of the garden plot surrounding the hospital premises and turned into agricultural land with promising harvest.
Tomatoes, zucchinis, green beans, eggplants, bell peppers but also watermelons are growing in the five-acres land plot and classic Greek vegetables of summer are soon to land in the hospital kitchen and the patients’ plates.
With the help of neighboring municipalities of Marousi and Penteli, CEO Olga Oikonomou made the difference without additional cost in times of economic crisis and sharp cuts in the health care and public hospitals.
Municipalities supplied machines and tools to turn the waste land into agricultural soil. They also provided gardeners to give a helping hand to the two hospital gardeners.
“The proposal for a vegetable garden seemed ideal,” Oikonomou told Proto Thema, after it became clear that in times of austerity it was impossible to utilize the land plot and make use of the “green” advantage of the hospital.
“In cooperation with the superintendence and two gardeners of Sismanoglio and the help of neighboring municipalities that provided machines whenever we asked, we proceeded to siting, cleaning, plowing and planting with seeds that our gardeners got free of charge. Now we will start putting the fence – the process was not in the appropriate range because we wanted to catch this year’s production, “Oikonomou said.
For start, the vegetable garden extends to 1.5 acres, and the classic summer vegetables have already bearing fruits. All signs are positive that Sismanoglio will have a good harvest. And thus a biological one.
In the first phase the intention is that the vegetables will be given to specific patients such as children, immune problems and patients with cystic fibrosis.
The ambitious but not impossible goal is to gradually increase the production so that the vegetable garden will become a key supplier to the hospital kitchen.
The cost for the kitchen of Sismanoglio and the interconnected hospitals of “Amalia Fleming” and IKA Hospital/Melissia is more than 800,000 euro per year. 130,000 euro alone are spent for vegetables.
Sismanoglio has 400 beds and treats an average of 280 patients per day.
The hospital gardeners’ plans include growing of potatoes and get olive oil through the dozens of olive trees standing in the area.
Oikonomou plans also to create a herbs garden, where patients of the psychiatric department can occupy themselves.
Olga Oikonopmou was appointed to CEO position three years ago.
See more pictures in Proto Thema
PS Finally a news that demonstrates that Greece is not only creator of negative headlines