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Posted May 3, 2011
Planting the Seeds of Good Health at All Children’s Hospital - Local Chef Tyson Grant & Family Dedicate Zoë’s Edible Garden

There's a special garden being planted just outside the front door of All Children's Hospital today. As it grows, hopefully it will yield much more than fruits, vegetables and herbs. For young patients, it will offer a chance to get outdoors and learn more about where healthy foods come from. For the hospital, it will offer organic items for use on its menus. And for the family behind it all, it will be a living memorial to their baby girl, Zoë.

Zoë's Edible Garden is a gift from Tyson & Sommer Grant. Tyson is Executive Chef and Partner in downtown St. Petersburg's Parkshore Grill. Sommer Grant is an obstetrical nurse for Bayfront Medical Center. Their daughter Zoë passed away at All Children's Hospital in April 2009 less than a month after her birth at Bayfront Medical Center, whose Baby Place obstetrics program occupies the third floor of the new All Children's Hospital.

The Grants say the idea for the garden grew out of a need to create a meaningful memorial for Zoë.

"We'd already dedicated a room in Bayfront Baby Place in Zoë's memory. But we wanted to do something for kids in her name," he explains. "Being a chef, I love gardens. Working in the garden is such a cool thing for families to do. And the area where Zoë's Garden is located is very special to us. Not only is it right here at All Children's and Bayfront Baby Place. It's also just outside the cafeteria, where our restaurant helped to cater many events leading up to the hospital's grand opening in January 2010. We sort of christened it. Now it's home to Zoë's Garden."

As part of the dedication, the Grants and their son Tanner  released butterflies - a symbol, they say, of Zoë's spirit. Then the attendees - friends, family, hospital staff and patients - "got their hands dirty" and helped plant the seeds of Zoë's Edible Garden.

"This is an exciting addition for our patients," says All Children's Child Life Director Luci Weber. "We strive to give them opportunities to enjoy some of life's everyday pleasures while they are here in the hospital. Certainly, being able to go out in a garden - even if they can't get their hands in the soil - will provide a chance for some fresh air and the learning opportunities that a garden offers for all children. For our 'frequent flyers' - those patients whose treatment requires regular stays over months or years - the garden will be a place where they can visit and see the progress as plants grow and mature."

"Zoë's Edible Garden represents a great teaching tool for us," says Kellie Gilmore, Outreach Coordinator for All Children's Fit4Allkids Weight Management & Fitness Program for Families. "We'll be able to show kids with weight issues where healthy foods come from. Hopefully, we will also be able to provide some opportunities for them to cook with this healthy, organic produce - from Zoë's Garden straight to the table."

Others helped to make Zoë's Edible Garden possible through in-kind donations. Thomas Signs provided the distinctive wooden signs that mark the garden and its many plants. Tommy Todd Landscaping & Design provided plants and the overall design for the garden.

Zoë's Edible Garden also creates new volunteer and donor opportunities at All Children's Hospital. Anyone interested in tending the garden should contact Tyson Grant via e-mail at dine@parkshoregrill.com. Those interested in donating to support the garden can visit www.allkids.org/give.