HealthThe Examiner

Phelps Garden Series Focuses on Healing and Wellness Through Nature

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project
Supporters who attended the Food, Wine & Beer Fest at Phelps Hospital last Sunday were able to sit down and relax under the event’s big tent.

It may seem a bit surprising to see beautiful gardens sprouting on the campus of a major hospital center.

But for the third consecutive year, Phelps Hospital and its supporters and donors are working together to bring yet another garden to the 69-acre Sleepy Hollow campus.

Last Sunday, Phelps held its Food, Wine & Beer Fest, which featured five food trucks with different types of offerings to those in attendance as well as Michelin-rated Chef Andrew Cain, who has helped to transform the hospital’s food to a culinary experience, to raise money for the proposed Behavioral Health Garden. The price of admission for the more than 100 attendees will be used as seed money for the project.

It is planned to be developed near the front entrance and it will be where seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown. The existing gardens are harvested and the produce is donated to food insecure people.

The other key goal of the garden is to provide medical and non-medical staff and anyone with reason to be at the hospital a peaceful place to collect their thoughts, especially during challenging intervals.

“Behavioral health is something that is incredibly important to us,” said Beata Mastalerz, who took over as Phelps’ executive director at the start of the year. “We have our inpatient mental health, we have outpatients, and anyone coming in. Also, caregivers really could benefit from something that is serene and heals through nature. That’s the purpose behind it.”

The first two installments of Phelps’ FARMacy Garden Series over the past couple of years included the Peas and Quiet Garden located behind the employee health building across from the Emergency Department, said Jill Scibilia, vice president, development for the Northwell Health Foundation.

Those attending last Sunday’s Food, Wine & Beer Fest at Phelps Hospital could choose items from various food trucks.

The Intergenerational Garden near where the Food, Wine & Beer Fest was held up the hill from the main driveway brings children from the Robin’s Nest Child Care Center on the campus and teaches them to grow, plant and harvest crops, Scibilia said.

While the hospital has scheduled more events to support the effort, having the Food, Wine & Beer Fest outside on a Sunday afternoon in spring seemed like a fun and enjoyable way to bring the community together for a good cause, said Kevin Plunkett, chair of the Phelps Hospital Community Board.

Plunkett said since the hospital needs to reach out to the community to support the effort, it’s good to get the community involved.

“It’s designed to get people together with the thought it can raise a few dollars and it can go toward the programs that we’re talking about,” he said.

This is one of the first steps to get the Behavioral Health Garden off the ground. Scibilia said there will be other events and fundraisers for the project, which is estimated to cost about $360,000. The garden will also contain a water feature, benches and lighting, she said.

The Village of Sleepy Hollow must provide approvals for the work to begin.

The plan is to start building Behavioral Health Garden this year and have it open to the public during the first part of 2025, Mastalerz said. She said it fits in well with the mission of the hospital and promotes health in a different way than what the doctors and nurses provide.

“The way I look at it, we provide cure to our patients in our community,” Mastalerz said. “We provide cure by focusing on wellness and healing through nature.”



We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.