In our recent webinar, we discussed Babylon Micro-Farms’s impact on Commonwealth Senior Living communities. 

Chef Lara Irwin recaps her experience with Babylon and answers attendees’ thoughts and questions in the Q&A session that followed.


The webinar opened with gratitude for attendees’ interest in learning about the partnership between Commonwealth Senior Living and Babylon Micro-Farms. A video of Bob Raymond, VP of Dining and Procurement Services, highlighted the alignment of Babylon Micro-Farms’ sustainability goals with CSL’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint and engage residents in the farm-to-table process. He emphasized the importance of serving fresh greens and enhancing food safety in senior living.

Chef Lara Irwin’s Experience

Chef Lara Irwin, Regional Director of Dining Services at Commonwealth Senior Living, shared her journey with Babylon Micro-Farms. Lara praised the engagement and joy Babylon’s Galleri brings to residents and discussed the positive impact on their wellness and dining experience. The Galleri offers a focal point for healthy eating choices in Commonwealth’s dining areas. 

Impact on Communities

Lara detailed the effects of Babylon Micro-Farms within her communities. She shared touching stories from the memory care team, emphasizing the therapeutic aspect of gardening and its role in bringing back cherished memories for the residents.

Resident Involvement and Preferences

The conversation touched on how residents participate in the farming process, from seed selection to harvesting. Lara explained how surveys help understand resident preferences for what to grow, underscoring the importance of giving them a voice in every step of the program’s process.

Sustainability and Food Safety

Chef Lara discussed the partnership’s central benefits: sustainability and a focus on food safety. The ability to harvest produce just before consumption eliminates many of the challenges associated with traditional food supply chains. Babylon’s focus on food safety and its traceability from seed to harvest make it an ideal partner for senior living teams. 

Q&A Highlights

App Usability and Resident Engagement

Lara reassured attendees about the simplicity of the Babylon app, which was designed to make gardening accessible to everyone, including those without a green thumb. The app facilitates every step of the growing process, ensuring engagement and minimal labor.

Community Size Compatibility

In response to a question about the best community size for implementing Babylon Micro-Farms, the speakers clarified that the system is adaptable to any size, emphasizing its scalability and flexibility.

Larger communities may explore having multiple Micro-Farms on site to cater to the wants and needs of residents!

Favorite Crops

When asked about the residents’ favorite crops, Lara mentioned the popularity of butter-crisp lettuce and fresh herbs. She stressed the importance of experimenting with different varieties to accommodate resident preferences. 

Final Remarks

The webinar reaffirmed the partnership’s success in enhancing resident experiences through sustainable, farm-to-table dining. 

Chef Lara highlighted the therapeutic and communal benefits of integrating Babylon Micro-Farms into senior living communities, promising a bright future for this innovative approach to dining and sustainability.

Download Transcript

Link to Presentation