Memphis, TN

Memphis Tilth Team Up To Provide Produce for Patients

DIY Active

The word “Tilth” has its origin in Old English, and it refers to good soil, especially with respect to sowing seeds. This definition has inspired the name of the local non-profit, Memphis Tilth. It was established in 2015, and it is dedicated to promoting a food system that is sustainable, equitable, and environmentally sound.

Memphis Tilth has created various programs to help boost the growing local economy. They have started a program called Giving Grove that creates food orchards in neighborhoods throughout Memphis, Tennessee. There is also the Bring it Food Hub, a produce subscription service that helps promote agriculture supported by the community.

Memphis Tilth and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Memphis Tilth also takes care of the garden of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the most loved institutions of Memphis. The St. Jude Garden Program Manager at Memphis Tilth is Emily Oppenheimer. This 31-years old lady started out her career as a volunteer with the organization in 2016. Then she started working at St. Jude Garden on a part-time basis in 2019. Finally, she took over the charge of the Program Manager in August 2020.

She explains that St. Jude Garden is much beyond being a way to bring fresh produce to the campus. It is a small gesture to sprinkle some brightness and joy on the lives of the patients at St. Jude.

How the Team Works

Emily and her team, as part of the Food Services Department, work closely with the executive chefs. Emily says, “We’re lucky that the chefs at St. Jude are big believers in providing local, fresh produce.” She submits a crop plan to the chefs in every season, and she collaborates with them to grow a range of produce. Then, the chefs use these naturally grown foods to feed organic fresh meals to the patients, families, and hospital staff.

The crops produced at St. Jude Garden are also sold at the St. Jude Farmers Market so that everyone on campus can enjoy freshly grown organic food.

About the Produce and Future Plans

The produce is not only fresh but also naturally grown. In other words, the crops are produced without using pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or GMOs. Besides, Emily and her team grow the crops through pollinator stations that offer a safe space for pollinators that facilitate the growth of fresh flowers and other yields.

Speaking of future plans for the St. Jude Garden, Emily shared that she has been always in search of ways to contribute more to St. Jude. She has a hope to make the space more interactive for hospital staff and families. Further, she aims to transform the garden into a larger part of the St. Jude community.

Emily is also quite sincere and passionate about the mission of sustainability. But, going one step further, she feels honored to be part of the St. Jude community. She remarks about her association with St. Jud, “It warms my heart to get to contribute to the St. Jude world.”

Memphis Tilth is always ready to welcome volunteers to lend helping hands to their various sustainable initiatives. If you are willing to know more about their volunteer opportunities and mission, pay a visit to their website,

You Can Also Start Your Own Garden: Hear it from Emily

Emily says that it’s a great idea to start small by planting herbs in small pots. Then, place the pots in a window that gets enough sunlight. Gradually, you will be able to take care of larger produce that is perfect for beginners.

If you want to expand your garden beyond the bucket, pick a raised bed planter that will help you control the input of your garden. Make sure to layer up with newspaper for keeping the weeds down. She further advises not to use any chemical, especially Roundup.

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