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Trinity Health Michigan's hospital farms assist food insecure communities

Pontiac hospital uses garden to feed patients
Pontiac hospital uses garden to feed patients 01:50

PONTIAC, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Trinity Health Michigan is on a mission to build healthier communities, and they're starting from the ground up.

The hospital group has two farms where they grow produce for patients and families.

One farm is located at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac. They work to provide fresh produce to food-insecure communities.

The staff at The Farm say they're starting to see more and more families sign up since the end of pandemic emergency benefits.

"Inflation is really starting to pinch people's budgets, and so we're happy to be able to be getting more food into clinics, be offering more farm-share assistance memberships," said Amanda Sweetman, Trinity Health Michigan regional director of farming and healthy lifestyles. "We do grow a lot of food here. Most of the food that's grown here at our two hospital-based farms goes to our Produce for Patients program, and this is where we work with our primary safety net clinics and community partners to get them big boxes of produce so that then they can give to their patients."

Sweetman says she believes food is medicine, and it's important to incorporate healthy food options for families in need.

"The Farm concept was started in 2010 at our Ann Arbor location with the idea of joining people on their path toward better health," Sweetman said. "Really living into our mission at Trinity Health to be a compassionate partner for life and that really can look like the care you get in the hospital but so many of us know that your health is depending on those little choices that you make every day. What are you eating? How active are you? Do you have someone that is your best friend or a good resource if you're feeling lonely, and The Farm is one of the places in which we can really live into that mission."

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