Lawrence General Hospital has partnered with Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) to pilot a “Food as Medicine” initiative aimed at increasing access to fresh, locally-grown produce for hospitalized individuals with food insecurity, malnutrition, or a medical condition that might be improved with a healthier diet.
The hospital received 300 Farmer’s Market coupons from GWL for distribution to patients in need of nutritional support. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients that support health such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which may be missing from the diets of patients who have limited access to fresh food. Purchasing local food at a GWL Farmer’s Market can also help connect patients to other nutritional supports such as healthy cooking classes and community gardens.
Lawrence General joins a number of local service organizations including the Merrimack Valley YMCA, The Center, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, and the Boys & Girls Club who have also agreed to distribute Farmer’s Market coupons to their clients in need. The $10 coupons may be distributed individually or combined to provide increased value, depending on the patients’ need, and are redeemable at any GWL Farmer’s Market through June 30, 2021. The Winter Market currently operates biweekly at The Center, 155 Haverhill St. in Lawrence and will expand to 3 weekly outdoor markets (2 in Lawrence, 1 in Methuen) on June 1. All GWL Farmer’s Markets accept cash, check, credit card, and food stamps (SNAP and HIP).
As a proud sponsor of GWL Farmer’s Markets and other programs for the past few years, Lawrence General is excited to help better connect patients to this valuable local resource. The hospital's dietitian team will track all coupons provided to patients at Lawrence General and GWL will track all hospital coupons redeemed at the markets.