Do you have consistent access to healthy, affordable food? If not, you may be food insecure. According to Health.gov’s‘s Healthy People 2020, food insecurity can increase the risk of obesity, chronic illnesses and mental health challenges.
Here at St. Joe’s, we are increasing the food security of our community through The Farm at St Joe’s, a working farm concept which started at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor and is now expanding across all of our hospitals. We grow food, provide hands-on education, and distribute fresh produce to our patients, visitors, staff and community. Here are some of the innovative ways we are helping our communities:
COVID-19 Food Assistance Program: In response to need due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Farm has started a collaborative food assistance program to serve homebound, food insecure patients and community members. Participants receive a bag of local produce and a bag of pantry staples delivered to their home for 6-12 weeks. We are grateful to our partners, Hope Clinic and Food Gatherers for making this program work. https://stjoesfarm.org/covid-food-assistance-program/
Subsidized Farm Share: Like a veggie subscription service, customers receive a box of local produce –a farm share–each week grown by 12 local farmers. Our subsidized program gives 36 weeks of free produce to food insecure families in our community. Not only do participants receive free, healthy food; they also try new foods, experiment with new recipes, and forge closer relationships with each other. This program is also an economic engine for our local food economy: in 2019, the program generated more than $100,000 of revenue for local farms. https://stjoesfarm.org/farmshare-plus/
Produce to Patients: The Farm donates the majority of the food it grows straight to our patients in need. Providers pick up boxes of produce each week and distribute it in their waiting rooms, in nutrition classes, and as patients are discharged from the hospital. The Farm donated enough food for 4,200 patients in 2019.
Market Connection: Qualifying families can get $100 in online store credit to use on the Ypsi Area Online Market to buy local fruits and vegetables and other staples. The Ypsi Area Online Market is a virtual farmers market where you can buy local produce. Curbside pickup of orders is available at each location for safer no/low contact. This program is possible through the generous support of the Children’s Foundation of Michigan and the operational support of Growing Hope. https://stjoesfarm.org/home/the-farm-at-st-joes-market-connection/
Our Care for the Common Good Campaign is working toward a future where everyone has access to healthy food. Please visit the campaign webpage to learn more, and sign our petition to let your elected officials know that you believe in a future where no one is food insecure.