OAKLAND – St. Joseph Mercy Oakland announced to the public the opening of a new hospital-based farm, located alongside Woodward Avenue on the hospital’s main campus. The Farm at St. Joe’s Oakland offers a safe, appealing space for patients, health care providers and the community to learn, engage, and develop the skills needed to transform their long-term health through food.
“At St. Joe’s we understand that food is medicine,” said Amanda Sweetman, director of Farming and Healthy Lifestyles at Trinity Health Michigan. “By exposing patients, doctors, and the communities we serve to fresh, accessible produce, we encourage healthier living and empower them to prevent future illness.”
The Farm at St. Joe’s Oakland is an expansion of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s successful farm at St. Joe’s Ann Arbor, which in 2020 donated more than 6,300 pounds of produce to 3,600 health care providers and 1,300 patients. In addition, the Ann Arbor farm distributed 11,500 boxes of Michigan produce to members of the community, including 83 food-insecure families.
Similar to Ann Arbor, The Farm at St. Joe’s Oakland offers access to a variety of classes and programs, such as the Collaborative Farm Share Program. The farm share is a 20-week collaborative program that pulls together food from local farms to create a diverse weekly produce box that is then distributed to members. Memberships are available for purchase and are free for food-insecure members of the community. In addition to encouraging healthier eating, the program also serves as an economic driver for local agriculture, having generated more than $150,000 for Ann Arbor-area farms in 2020.
“The food people consume can have a tremendous impact on their overall health and wellbeing and can help avoid many of the chronic illnesses we see in our offices and here at the hospital,” said Fabian Fregoli, chief medical officer of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. “The farm is a wonderful addition to our hospital campus, one that will give us the ability to connect with patients in an impactful way, and give them the tools and support needed to live longer, healthier lives.”
Hospital colleagues and local members of the community are invited to volunteer at the farm by emailing OaklandFarm@stjoeshealth.org.
Members of the community interested in participating in the farm share program can sign up at https://stjoesfarm.org/st-joes-oakland-farm-share/.
Those interested in donating funds to support farm operations and programing can visit www.giving.stjoeshealth.org/oakland-farm-donation-form
For questions regarding the farm or any of its classes or programs, please visit Stjoesfarm.org. You may also follow The Farm at St. Joe’s Oakland on Facebook or Instagram.