A collaboration between Rodale Institute and St. Luke’s University Health Network
300 acres of farmland, previously used for the production of crops like corn and soy, are recently transited to organic and farm vegetables. Patients of a hospital in Pennsylvania are provided with this local organic produced food through fresh and healthy meals functioning as a medicine to strengthen the body. The idea behind the hospital food program dates back to 431 B.C. when the Greek philosopher Hippocrates stated: ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’.
The idea of starting a hospital food program derived from previous research conducted by the hospital. Results showed the great impact of fresh and organic produced food on patients health. Having these results, Rodale Institute was approached to realize the plan.
Already six hospitals are taking part in this project. One of the farmers, Lynn Trizna, is growing five acres of vegetables this year. Lynn Trizna has plans to expand to ten acres in 2015. The great success of the organic produce is visible, according to the farmers approximately 44,000 lbs of produce from the farm is used in hospital meals this season. Farmer Lynn and her three staff members are paid a salary by Rodale Institute.
Initially, the involving parties agreed on a term of three-years. Due to the success of the hospital food program the parties see the potential for expansion. Their vision is to grow the program by including up to 20 farmers – supporting starting farmers with no land; a small batch cannery, enabling harvest during winter time; and greenhouses which enable year round production of organic food.
The initiators belief that the hospital program can and should be replicated at all hospitals throughout the U.S. So, next time you are ill you might want to look in the garden for food as a cure to feel better.
Watch the full video Hospital Food Program