Long rows of fresh herbs and vegetables neatly line the enclosed and sunlit space, filling it with an earthy scent and an abundance of green. Tiny plants of basil peek out from their squares, string beans grow on winding vines on the left side of the entrance, and toward the back, a lone bright lemon hangs from its stem.
“Oh yeah, this is great,” Earvin “Magic” Johnson says to the greenhouse’s community wellness coordinator, gently touching the yellow fruit in admiration.
Basketball legends, greenhouses, and hospitals might not seem to have a lot in common, but Magic Johnson, this particular greenhouse, and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center sure do.
Johnson, 60, toured the hospital’s greenhouse—the only hospital to have one in New Jersey—Thursday afternoon, as part of the hospital’s health and wellness initiatives and partnership with Johnson’s own company, SodexoMAGIC. Both organizations are working to increase access to nutritious food and wellness in the city, along with educating people on healthy lifestyles.