Organic Consumers Association

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Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

For related articles and information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Organic Transitions page and our Health Issues page.

In 431 B.C. Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"

More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn't matter how or what we eat, there is a quick fix around the corner for whatever ails us-whether we're obese, have high blood pressure or bad cholesterol-just to name a few of the issues plaguing our society.

A sign directs visitors and patients to the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, adjacent to the hospital. Photo credit: Bill Noll

It now seems almost revolutionary to think that we can change our health by changing the food we eat.

But, one hospital in Pennsylvania thought just that.

In 2014, Rodale Institute, in partnership with St. Luke's University Health Network, launched a true farm to hospital food program.

The Anderson Campus at St. Luke's has more than 300 acres of farmland, much of which had historically been farmed conventionally with crops like corn and soy. The hospital administration recognized the impact that providing fresh, local organic produce could have on patient health and approached Rodale Institute to transition the land to organic and farm vegetables to be used in patient meals as well as in the cafeteria.  

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