An innovative new project at the West Los Angeles VA on the northern side of campus is roughly the size of a football field but smells much better.
Artist Lauren Bon and a team from the Metabolic Studio in Lose Angeles have worked with VA mental health personnel and veterans to create The Strawberry Flag project a clinical project that benefits veterans and the planet. According to Donna Beiter, RN, MSN, the director if the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, the Strawberry Flag project at the VA WLA campus stimulates healing, growth and recovery.
It is a great example of the VAs commitment to patient-centered care in that it provides a wonderful healing environment for our veterans in a very non-institutional way, which is what patient-centered care is all about, Beiter said.Another engaging aspect of the project is its location. Individuals can engage in social biking to bring water from the Los Angeles River for this hydroponic system.
The Strawberry Flag was made to look like the American flag. It has 13 stripes made of reclaimed strawberries with inviting walking paths, and a field made of an edible herb called borage and white star-shaped flowers is in the top left corner.
The project has engaged veterans since its earliest stages, which have focused on the infrastructure. Upon completion of the infrastructure, VA staff and veterans have participated in the preparation, planting, harvesting, processing and jarring of the strawberries.
Beiter and staff are enthusiastic about seeing the fruits of their labor as the project grows. As a nurse, I see the true value and overall benefit that a unique project like this brings to patients on many levels in their road to recovery.