facebook Eskenazi Health Opens Farm on Indianapolis Northside
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Indianapolis, May 24, 2018 – Eskenazi Health and Indy Urban Acres have joined forces to open an acre-and-a-half sized farm on the grounds of Eskenazi Health Center Pecar at 6940 N. Michigan Rd. in Indianapolis.

The farm at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar began operations last year with the assistance of dozens of volunteers. The farm is located in front of the Eskenazi Health Center Pecar building on the Jim and Lois Ackerman Health Campus. All of the food grown at the farm will be available at the Crooked Creek Food Pantry at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar and additional food pantries in the Indianapolis area.

In 2017, the farm produced tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, cucumbers, watermelons, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and beets. Although planting did not start until early June, the overall harvest totaled 11,693 pounds of produce equating to 57,069 servings for a total retail value of $21,334.

This year’s planting begins in May with the help of dozens of volunteers with the addition this season of cooler weather crops such as lettuce and spinach. Food production this year is expected to total nearly 20,000 pounds. Expansion of the Eskenazi Health farm and pantry operations housed within Eskenazi Health Center Pecar is expected in the near future.

“Evidence shows eating a healthful and mostly plant-based diet plays a significant role in preventing, managing and even reversing chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health. “Eskenazi Health is proud to partner with Indy Urban Acres on this new farm at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar, building on our commitment to expand food access in Central Indiana.”

The Crooked Creek Food Pantry serves a neighborhood in north central Indianapolis that has ranked near the bottom in terms of economic power and privilege by U.S. Census data. In addition to food, families and individuals can select from a variety of other necessities – such as soap, toothpaste and toilet tissue.

“I am really excited about our partnership with Eskenazi Health Center Pecar. It is kind of neat to see a patient come to the center to see a doctor and then walk away with fresh produce after the visit,” said Tyler Gough, farm manager of Indy Urban Acres who oversees the farm at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar. “During the growing season patients will take home healthy fresh produce that is free and grown right outside the health center, which is amazing. It’s a great arrangement.”

This new farm provides another example of Eskenazi Health’s commitment to promoting healthful eating, and is a compliment to The Sky Farm at Eskenazi Health, a 5,000 square foot gardening space on top of the Sandra Eskenazi Outpatient Care Center at the Eskenazi Health downtown campus.

“I love passing by the farm as I drive in because it symbolizes the care and commitment we have at Eskenazi Pecar Health Center for the health and well-being of the community we serve,” said Dr. Deanna Reinoso, chief physician executive at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar. “We ask our patients if their budgets allow them to purchase the healthy food they need, and we screen for food insecurity because a nutritious diet is essential to living a healthy and productive life.”

Eskenazi Health believes urban agriculture efforts can supplement and support current hunger relief strategies by adding the freshest of fruits and vegetables into the lives of the food insecure and hungry. Urban agriculture can also be a great tool for building social cohesion, beautifying neighborhoods, youth employment and providing a platform for educating people on the importance of healthful eating. Farms like these contribute to the reduction in the carbon footprint and minimize waste and food spoilage due to the food having shorter distances to travel. 

Eskenazi Health recently announced that more locally sourced options will be available soon in Eskenazi Health’s food service areas, as a result of a new partnership formed with the state’s Indiana Grown initiative. Eskenazi Health is committed to serving locally sourced food from Indiana farms and suppliers, with 40 percent of all food products currently served at Eskenazi Health originating from The Hoosier State.

Indy Urban Acres is an 8-acre organic urban farm that supplies low-income Hoosiers with healthy fruits and vegetables. The farm at Eskenazi Health Center Pecar will also serve as an educational resource for user groups, community organizations and Indy Parks youth programming to learn the value of the urban gardens. The farm is a result of the unique partnership between the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the Indianapolis Parks Department and Gleaners Food Bank aimed at ensuring that families in need have access to healthy foods.

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CONTACT: Tom Surber or Todd Harper
Phone: 317.880.4793
Cell: 317.402.9327
Pager: 317.310.5972
Email: thomas.surber@eskenazihealth.edu

 

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