The Farm at St. Joe’s Oakland: Where We Are and What Comes Next

OAKLAND – Established in 2019, The Farm at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland was designed to bolster the health of our community through fresh produce and education. According to Amanda Sweetman, Director of Farming and Healthy Lifestyles for Trinity Michigan, “We care for [patients] in so many ways, including the health of what they eat and the health of the ecology and land around them, and this farm is really the physical embodiment of that care.”

The Farm is currently covered in “amber waves of grain,” or more precisely, winter rye. The winter rye was planted in late 2019 as a cover crop, and has helped to hold the soil in place. The original plan was to take the winter rye down in the spring of 2020, and to plant new crops in its place. However, the arrival of COVID-19 disrupted those plans, so the winter rye has continued to grow. In addition to the winter rye, clover was planted throughout the fields in the spring to help add more nitrogen into the soil.

Sweetman shared SJMO’s new plans for the Farm now that COVID-19 cases have slowed. First, the winter rye with be mowed and reincorporated into the ground to fertilize the soil. In at least one portion of the Farm, we will plant sunflowers, which are currently being grown in a greenhouse in Ann Arbor. Another portion will contain a native flower meadow, which will provide an excellent habitat for pollinators. Finally, the rest will contain a cover crop, which will further protect and enrich the soil for future produce.

We are excited to resume our work on the Farm, and look forward to providing fresh produce to our community. If you have any suggestions or feedback, please email