Farm to Hospital Program

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The goal of the UPMC Pinnacle Foundation Farm to Hospital program is to establish a sustainable, year-round working farm on the UPMC Memorial campus. In collaboration with York Fresh Food Farms (YFFF), the initiative aims to combat food insecurity throughout York County by providing fresh, healthy produce to UPMC Memorial patients, staff, visitors, and the community at large.

The program seeks to improve the health and wellness of patients, employees, and the community by promoting greater access to healthier foods and wellness initiatives. Through partnerships, educational programs, and the ultimate vision of prescribing fresh produce tailored to specific health needs, the farm endeavors to address the root causes of health issues and contribute to a healthier lifestyle for individuals and the community at large.

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Initiative Origin and Leadership:

The Farm to Hospital initiative, led by Dr. KimberLee Mudge, a general surgeon and breast specialist at UPMC Leader Surgical Associates, envisions holistic healthcare by addressing root causes of illness through traditional methods like diet and exercise.

Partnership Formation:

UPMC Memorial Hospital and UPMC Pinnacle Foundation collaborate with York Fresh Food Farms (YFFF), a nonprofit dedicated to combating food deserts in York City. The partnership aligns with UPMC's mission to enhance community health.

Farm Operation and Management:

UPMC Pinnacle Foundation partners with YFFF to employ a full-time farm manager and a part-time farming assistant for daily operations and also covers site review, preparation, infrastructure, and employee expenses. A detailed operating agreement governs the collaborative effort.

Crop Selection and Rotation:

UPMC Memorial and UPMC Pinnacle Foundation collaborate with YFFF to select a variety of produce for the high tunnels, ensuring seasonal rotation. The year-round operation aims to continuously provide fresh food to patients and the community.

Sales and Distribution:

YFFF sells produce from the UPMC Memorial site at locations throughout York City, to local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and distributes to the UPMC Memorial campus through UPMC Food Services and regular dates for YFFF’s mobile produce vehicle.

Educational Programs:

UPMC in Central Pa. and UPMC Pinnacle Foundation will partner with YFFF, UPMC dieticians, and nutritionists for educational programs on urban and backyard farming, types of fresh produce, and preparation techniques.

Community Engagement and Funding Appeal:

UPMC and YFFF seek partners to support and sustain this mission. Major partner support is acknowledged from the Memorial Health Fund of the York County Community Foundation, the Powder Mill Foundation, and York Excavating Co.

Program Overview and Goals:

  • Establish and operate a year-round farm on 3-5 acres adjacent to Loucks Road and Innovation Drive.
  • Harvest approximately 10,000 lbs of fresh produce annually
  • Provide produce to York City food deserts, UPMC Food Services, Root for Health food co-op program, and local food banks.
  • Track co-op participant data,
  • Provide nutritional education
  • Create permanent produce stand

Long-Term Vision:

Collaborate with the UPMC Health Plan for "Farmacy" prescription reimbursement. The project builds upon the Farm to Hospital Project's mission, emphasizing community health and wellness through access to fresh, healthy food. The ultimate goal is for UPMC in Central Pa. providers to prescribe fresh produce tailored to patients' ailments. This includes conditions like cardiac issues, diabetes, and cancer.

Learn more about YFFF and how you can support their mission here.