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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Hospital Grows Own Organic Produce for Patient Consumption: Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear features a 69-acre organic farm.

Mar 29, 2016 10:02AM ● By By Martin Miron

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) has always believed in the whole person model of care and recognizes that 30 to 40 percent of cancers can be prevented by managing diet and related risk factors. Fresh produce from an on-site organic farm behind the hospital in Goodyear is used in meals for patients undergoing treatment. Once they move into survivorship, their meal choices are then aligned better with whole food and seasonal local produce. A teaching kitchen shows them how to make it and make it taste good, as well.

Sharon Day, national nutrition director for CTCA and Western Director of Quality and Life at the Goodyear facility, says, “The farm continues to grow. We’re now at 69 acres. When CTCA first opened in 2008 we talked about doing a farmer’s market on-site. We thought it would be a great way to incorporate local seasonal produce and support the community and align with our recommendations for patients and employees. We started talking to local farmer Bob McClendon, as he was providing seasonal produce for many Phoenix-area restaurants. After learning his story and our goals, CTCA and McClendon decided to work together in running this organic farm.”

In March alone, the farm was growing more than 64 different crops, including multiple varieties of lettuce, onions, beets, squash and cauliflower.

Often times, the organic food recommendations may not be well-liked at first. “However, because we are making the food recommendations and then sharing examples of these recommendations in our daily meals and through samples, we show patients and employees how it can be done,” says Day. “For example, kale is one of the most prominent produce on the farm. Our kale salad has become the most popular dish in the kitchen.”

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Photo: Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Goodyear features a 69-acre organic farm.

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