Deaver Wellness Farm: Food as Medicine in Healthcare Spotlight

by Marissa Sheldon
Deaver Wellness Farm

What they do: The Deaver Wellness Farm provides approximately 5,000 pounds of fresh organic produce a year to Main Line Health patients and local residents who struggle with food insecurity. The farm is located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, PA, which is part of Main Line Health. The produce is used for home delivery to patients in need, in teaching practices at pop-up farmer’s markets, and in cooking demonstrations at the hospital. The farm and its associated theme, “food as medicine,” are integrated into Main Line Health’s academic training programs for physicians and healthcare professionals. A variety of hands-on educational workshops for school-age children, adults in the community, and medical residents are also offered at the farm. The farm has educated more than 2,000 local school children since its opening in 2016.

How they do it: The Deaver Wellness Farm is a collaboration between Lankenau Medical Center and Greener Partners. It is located on a half-acre of land and comprises 44 raised bed gardens, a greenhouse, a composting area, and several garden stations including an herb station, a seed station, a sensory garden, an education garden, a roots and stems station, and a flower and fruits station. 

Lankenau Medical Center contracts with Greener Partners for the management of Deaver Farm. Two Greener Partners farmers, with the help of medical residents, manage and operate the farm. They take care of daily maintenance and plan, plant, harvest, wash, and bag the produce.  

Referrals for home delivery services are provided by the hospital’s community health worker as well as other professionals in social work, oncology, the emergency department, Lankenau Obstetrical Care, or Lankenau Medical Associates. The hospital contracts with an outside company to provide these delivery services. 

Patients who receive produce from the farm are also given handouts with recipes and information on nutrition and how to store the produce. 

Mission: To harness the power of locally grown food to strengthen the community’s health, to help patients experiencing food insecurity, and to educate children about the connection between health and nutrition.

Major Funding: The Delema G. Deaver Fund and a grant from the McLean Contributionship

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: Not available

Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: The Deaver Wellness Farm produces between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds of food each year.

FACT SHEET:

Location:
Lankenau Medical Center
100 E. Lancaster Ave
Wynnewood, PA 19096

Core Programs: Produce garden, outdoor learning space

Number of staff: 2

Number of volunteers: 0

Areas served: Greater Philadelphia region

Year Started: 2016

Founder/CEO: Phillip Robinson, Lankenau Medical Center President

Contact Information: Maureen Krouse, Community Health Manager: krousem@mlhs.org, 484-476-8494

Learn More: 

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