It’s all about the kids
When Bronson’s director of food services had an idea to start using locally sourced eggs for all patient meals and in dining areas, he turned to Norm and Karen Carlson. The couple’s family-run farm is focused on natural foods —including eggs from pasture-raised hens. Partnering with the hospital was a perfect fit. “We started with eggs, and it’s blossomed,” says Norm.
Carlson Farms, based in Lawton, now supplies eggs and meat to Bronson Methodist Hospital, and is one of several vendors at Bronson’s weekly farmers market in Kalamazoo. Two years ago, Norm had his own idea. He proposed hosting a farm to table dinner with the help of local chefs. The event would include a plated meal in a scenic farm setting, with live music, where a few hundred people would gather to raise money in support of Bronson Children’s Hospital.
His idea has become an annual event, raising more than $35,000 for the Bronson Health Foundation Children’s Hospital Fund. “It’s an honor to have people visit our farm,” says Norm. “There are a lot of really good people who join us. It’s all about the kids,” adds Karen. Last year’s dinner supported a renovation project for the family lounge in the pediatric unit. The space provides a more home-like environment for patients’ families, giving them a place to eat together and an area for siblings to do homework. “It is now a place where families can feel more comfortable,” says Karen. The Carlsons are looking forward to hosting another farm to table experience in October in support of a new project for the children’s hospital. And, they hope the community will join them. Norm adds, “As we all come together, we are making this foundation stronger. And with a solid foundation, anything is possible.”