Augusta Health Farmland to Provide Fresh Produce for Hospital
Farmland on Augusta Health's campus is going to be developed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the hospital and to teach about healthy eating.
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Farmland on Augusta Health's campus is going to be developed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the hospital and to teach about healthy eating.
Augusta Health has identified nutrition, physical activity, and weight as the community’s top health needs. To meet those needs, the hospital is launching an innovative project and will soon be cultivating this historic farmland.
"We're going to actually have demonstration gardens here, and over here we'll have gardens and raised beds that people can see how to grow their own vegetables,” says Sue Erhardt, the executive director of the Allegheny Mountain Institute.
Augusta Health and Allegheny Mountain Institute have joined forces for the hospital's first farm-to-table project.
"The mission of Augusta Health and Allegheny Mountain Institute both focuses on improving the health and well-being of the community,” says Krystal Moyers of Augusta Health.
Next week, farmers from Allegheny Mountain Institute will plant seeds in a greenhouse on the property to develop until the weather warms up and they can be transferred to finish growing on one acre of farmland.
"Eight thousand pounds of food will go into our patient meals, into our cafeteria system, and into our catering around the hospital for different events," says Moyers.
The hospital is creating a food pharmacy program for patients with chronic diabetes.
"Those folks participating will receive a produce prescription voucher and so they'll be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables that have come from the farm and take those home - prepare them for their families,” says Moyers.
Workshops and tours will also give people in the community hands-on experience.
“People will learn how to grow their own vegetables,” says Erhardt. “We'll start with a gardening 101 class that is open to the public.”
The goal is a simple one:
“To improve the health and well-being of our community and really create long term systematic change so that future generations will understand the importance of eating locally grown nutrient-dense foods,” says Moyers.
Farmers will be breaking up the soil this week to get the ground ready for planting. Augusta Health plans to hold an open house in the next month so people can come check out the farm.