CTCA near Phoenix has planted a 25 acre organic farm behind the hospital. CTCA near Phoenix is the first cancer hospital in the country to provide its patients with organic produce grown on-site and year-round.
“One advantage of Hope Springs Farm for our patients is that the farm draws awareness to local, seasonal whole foods. Dietitians across the enterprise continue to encourage patients to eat a diet rich in whole foods, and to utilize local, organic farms, for the benefits of seasonal freshness,” says Sharon Day, Director of Nutrition.
“The produce from our Farm is harvested daily. With the short time lapse from farm to table (hospital) our product is able to retain more of its nutrient value. An additional benefit to our patients is that the harvested product is free of harmful substances like herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. “
As with many good ideas, Hope Springs Organic Farm came to fruition starting with a simple conversation about how to better provide for patients. Chef Frank Caputo wanted to bring the freshest local produce to CTCA patients. This prompted CTCA to partner with Bob McClendon, Arizona’s premier organic farmer, to create Hope Springs Organic Farm.
Good nutrition is an important part of cancer care. Staying nourished during cancer treatment can keep you strong and provide the nutrients needed to tolerate and recover from treatment. It provides several benefits, including:
- Supports immune function
- Preserves lean body cell mass
- Rebuilds body tissue
- Decreases your risk of infection
- Increase strength and energy
- Improves your tolerance to treatment
- Helps you recuperate faster after treatment
- Enhances your overall well-being
In addition to helping patients eat fresh food while at the hospital, recipes that include produce from the harvest are available for patients, encouraging them to incorporate the nutrient-packed menu items at home as well.
“Our Farm allows patients to put into practice all of the nutrition education & healthy living encouragement that their dietitians are giving,” says Ashley Baldwin, Clinical Oncology Dietitian. “It is a true ‘hands on’ experience for them to take a walk around our Farm, see how the produce was prepared and then take those ideas home with them.”