Youth Farm Provides Produce to Hospital Market

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The Youth Farm in Springfield is one of three Food For Lane County Farms producing quality fruits and vegetables.

There you’ll find about 40 crops, mostly vegetables covering 3 1/2 acres.

Bok choy, radishes and spinach are picked fresh daily.

From there, they go to to a produce stand at Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. This is the second year the hospital is hosting the summer farm stand at the hospital. Farm Manager Ted Purdy drummed up the idea.

“We needed a few more outlets to sell some produce. We have a farm stand on site here, and it wasn’t quite meeting my expectations. So I was, how can we sell more produce?” Purdy said.

Selling at the hospital was logical location–a place where doctors help you get healthy and stay healthy.

Of course there are many benefits to eating fresh produce. Your body gets more nutrients, but there’s more to than just the food at the farm. The program also helps students and Food For Lane County.

Last year, Food For Lane County generated close to $11,000 from the hospital produce stand.

It’s students like Keazy Freed who help farm it. He belongs to the Summer Youth Farm Crew. Many of the workers are low-income teenagers from the Eugene/Springfield area working 15 hours a week and learning a valuable trade.

“They are learning how to feed themselves and how to feed the community,” said Assistant Farm Manager Heather Rudich.

The produce stand at RiverBend will be open every Thursday afternoon from 2-6 p.m. through September. It’s located in the shady Fir Grove to the south of the Emergency Department at the south end of the hospital.

The Youth Farm in Springfield also hosts a Farmers Market every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. located at 705 Flamingo Avenue in Springfield.

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