A couple of years ago, we reported on a study on the Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity in 195 Countries Over 25 Years published in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study was based on a global research program known as the Global Burden of Disease, which was a collaboration of over 2,300 researchers in 133 countries.
With industrial food replacing real food, it was little surprise to many that the American obesity problem was spreading world-wide. Attributed to Hippocrates (the Greek physician during the Age of Pericles, c. 460-c. 370 BC), the famous quote cited above in full says: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Dr. Sidney Garfield in the 1930s during the Great Depression is credited with providing the spark to start the organization which would eventually become Kaiser Permanente. From the very beginning, Dr. Garfield placed emphasis on maintaining health and safety rather than merely treating illness and injury.
Today’s Kaiser Permanente has opened farmers markets outside its medical centers and clinics in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, Oregon and Washington state. Plainly stated on its website, the health care organization notes simply: Eating more fruits and vegetables is part of good health.
Kaiser Permanente on its Food for Health blog, also offers healthful recipes from its own physicians and dieticians.
The four farmers markets in Hillsboro, Oregon have articulated a shared set of values behind the opening of farmers markets, which apply to the one in Hillsboro outside Kaiser Permanente’s medical facilities. Worthy of sharing widely, they are: (1) Healthy food- all people deserve access to fresh affordable nutritious food; (2) Education- our markets help people know about and prepare their food, as well as, the value of buying local; (3) Partnerships- staff, board, volunteers, vendors, and community partners work hand-in-hand; (4) Quality- high standards of excellence in conduct, product and ethics; (5) Sustainability- protecting and improving quality of life for future generations; and (6) Community- building, enhancing and strengthening connections in a diverse and engaging meeting place.
This spirit of integrated medical care has spread to upstate New York’s Capital Region. St. Peter’s Health Partners are now hosting farmers markets on Fridays at Samaritan Hospital in Troy (Rensselaer County), NY and at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, NY on a rotating basis so that each hospital will be the site for a farmers market on a biweekly basis in the growing season.
Of special note, St. Peter’s Health Partners has established a relationship with the Patroon Land Farm in Knox (Albany County), New York to operate the farmers markets outside the two hospitals in the upstate Capital Region.
The Patroon Land Farm is a self-sustaining farm that grows large quantities of vegetables every year in order to supply the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. The Regional Food Bank recently noted that to date, its Patroon Land Farm has grown over 1,000,0000 pounds of fresh produce.
This real food (not edible food-like substances in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules lingo) has been supplied to 1,000 participating agencies in 23 counties in upstate New York. In addition, the Food Bank has sold 375,000 pounds of produce through its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Working in partnership with St Peters Health Partners, some of the farm’s food will now be sold outside two hospitals in the Capital Region. Bravo!
(Frank W. Barrie, 8/21/19)