Our society is experiencing a period of awakening when it comes to how we think about our health. It’s happening at the family level as parents make healthier choices for their kids and it’s happening in grocery aisles where brands are answering the public demand for organic products.

A wake up call

In 2014, Rodale Institute partnered with St. Luke’s hospital in Easton, Pennsylvania to create the first organic farm onsite at a hospital—strong evidence that this awakening is happening at an institutional level.

A sign directs visitors and patients to the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, adjacent to the hospital.

This awakening to the connection between food and health is most welcome. Despite the famous quote from 431 B.C. by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” we see something very different today by looking at our health care industry and food system. Rather than preventing illness with our food choices, we are more likely to treat illnesses with pills and medications.

Improving outcomes

But it’s not too late change that. Many of our current health problems are preventable through a healthy diet of organic foods. That’s exactly why St. Luke’s asked us to partner with them to create an organic farm at their hospital.

St. Luke’s has taken a huge step; not only by recognizing what Hippocrates said in 431 B.C., but by making a commitment to improving health today by changing the way both patients and doctors view the connection between soil, food and health.

We now have a working model that shows how to enhance human health through organic farming. It’s a model we hope to see replicated on a global scale at every hospital.