New project to explore models for connecting healthcare organizations with local agricultural producers

Claudia Schmidt, NERCRD faculty affiliate and Penn State assistant professor of marketing and local/regional food systems, and Penn State Extension Educator Jay Eury, co-leaders of the project, and their collaborators, plan to identify and characterize existing food-access or nutrition programs in the Northeast that are sponsored by healthcare systems, and to examine their funding structures and influences on local food systems.

“We know that many healthcare organizations have started farmers markets, gardens or farms on hospital campuses, or are experimenting with other food access support that involves partnering with local producers,” Schmidt said. “However, we don’t know much about the form these partnerships take or how their success is measured. By collecting data on these and other factors, we hope to be able to bring science-based knowledge into action and connect more local producers with health care systems.”

At the conclusion of their study, the team will offer a webinar to share their preliminary results.

In addition to Schmidt and Eury, other project members include:

  • Susan Veldheer, Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Public Health Sciences;
  • Daniel George, Associate Professor of Medical Humanities;
  • Francesco DiGioia, Assistant Professor of Vegetable Crop Science; and,
  • Stephan Goetz, Director, Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development.

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