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New 700-Tree Orchard Coming to St. Luke's Anderson Campus | WDIY Local News

Anita Sergent, St. Luke's University Health Network

St. Luke’s University Health Network patients will soon have access to more fresh, locally-grown fruits, thanks to a new grant.

The health network said in a release that a $25,000 grant from the Air Products Foundation will help establish a fruit orchard at the St. Luke’s Anderson Campus in Bethlehem Township.

The grant funding will help plant over 700 apple and pear trees in what will be the first orchard at the St. Luke’s Rodale Institute Organic Farm, located on 14 acres of land at the campus.

In a statement, Anderson Campus President Ed Nawrocki said Air Products’ investment supports St. Luke’s mission of encouraging healthy diets, “and will help raise awareness about the impact of food choices on overall health and well-being.”

Nawrocki added that a berry patch was recently added to the farm, and that its strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are expected to fruit and be certified organic next year.

The cooperative farming effort began in 2014 as a collaboration between the Rodale Institute and St. Luke’s.

The health network said 70 varieties of certified organic fruits and vegetables from the farm are supplied to its cafeterias, patients, visitors and employees.

St. Luke’s website also states that that the goal of the farm is to grow 60,000 pounds of produce this season.

Built on 500 acres of farmland, the Anderson Campus is St. Luke’s largest green space.

In addition to providing food for the network, the campus also provides produce used for lifestyle medicine research.

In 2021, St. Luke’s planted a new 80-acre field of yellow spring canola at the Anderson Campus, which the network said helped promote physical and mental well-being, while also attracting beneficial insects like bees and other pollinators.

(Original air-date: 5/27/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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