A fruitful partnership between St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) and the Rodale Institute demonstrates the organizations’ commitment to promoting the health of their community and the environment.
That was the topic of the keynote address during PPL’s Energy Efficiency Healthcare Forum Oct. 5 at the PPL Conference Center at Walbert near Allentown.
“We’re pleased to have St. Luke’s University Health Network participate in our inaugural Healthcare Energy Efficiency Forum,” said Jodi Hoffman, a key account manager with PPL Electric Utilities. “We collaborated with many of our health care customers to design an educational day around a holistic approach to energy efficiency and sustainability. Participating hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and long-term care communities will have the opportunity share ideas and solutions to benefit their operations and the planet.”
Through the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, SLUHN is able to provide organic produce to patients, staff and visitors to its hospitals throughout the network. SLUHN continues to be one of the few hospitals in the nation to offer patients organic produce grown at an organic farm located on a hospital campus.
The keynote presenters during the PPL Energy Efficiency Healthcare Forum were:
- Ed Nawrocki, President of St. Luke’s Anderson and Quakertown Campus;
- Jeff Moyer, Executive Director of the Rodale Institute; and
- Lynn Trizna, the Rodale Institute farmer who runs the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm.
They discussed the farm program and Rodale’s overall view and approach to healthy organic food and healthcare. In addition, Allison Hess, Director of Wellness Programs at Geisinger Health Plan, spoke about Geisinger’s Fresh Food Pharmacy program.
“The St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm is an excellent example of the power of collaboration,” Nawrocki said. “We combined our health care expertise and facilities with Rodale Institute’s proficiency in the area of organic farming to elevate the wellness of our network by providing organic food directly from farm to patient. Doing so underscores our organizations’ strong commitment to health and healing.”
Now in its fourth year of operation, the farm, which is located at the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township, is looking to increase its harvest of organic produce, while expanding its staff, adding a certified organic designation and growing cut flowers to further diversify the farm’s crops.
“The farm harvested around 50,000 pounds of produce last year and the hope is that it will produce more this year,” said Trizna, aka “Farmer Lynn,” who has been working the farm since its inception.
The 11.5-acre farm plants 100 varieties of produce, including lettuce/salad greens, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, ground cherries, summer squash, kale, garlic, cabbage, beets, potatoes, herbs, melons, corn, Brussels sprouts and much more. This fresh organic produce is distributed every week in-season to all hospital cafeterias in the network.
This year, the farm is also growing more than 40 varieties of flowers, which are currently being used to decorate the campus cafes.
“Our partnership with St. Luke’s is very natural,” Moyer said. “We both care greatly about our communities and understand the link between our health and the food we eat. Using regenerative organic principles and practices we can improve the health of our soils, the health of people and the health of the planet. We are accomplishing all of these goals at the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm.”
Note: This story was contributed by St. Luke’s University Health Network. Its publication is the result of a news partnership between Saucon Source and SLUHN.