NYU Langone Teams Up with Local Roots NYC to Bring Fresh Produce to Employees

The theory is, if you make healthy eating easier and more accessible, people will improve their diets. Medical Students at NYU Langone put that theory into action and started a program that allows employees to pick up their fresh fruit and vegetables orders right at the hospital. The hope is that other companies across the country will follow their lead.

"You sign up at the beginning of a season for a 12-week season of either vegetables, fruits, they have tons of other artisanal goods. All of it is local and sustainable," says Jenna Agins, Energy and Sustainability Specialist at NYU Langone.

Each order is filled by a community supported agriculture group called Local Roots, and is designed to feed two adults and a child.

"We have a vegetable share, fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, sausage, chocolate, pasta. Like, anything you could want basically from a grocery store, but you get it here and you get enough food to last you a week or two," says Sarah Palatnik of Local Roots NYC.

"It's about $16 a week roughly, which is actually really affordable for really fresh, local and amazingly tasty produce,” Agins says.

Local Roots works with certified organic and certified naturally grown farms. The hospital partnership is designed to connect employees and local farmers, even if the two never meet face to face.

Dr. Deborah Axelrod, Medical Director of NYU's Perlmutter Breast Cancer Center, says your diet is one of the variables everyone can control, and this program makes it easier to do that.

"You need to learn how to cook with fruits and vegetables and less with meats, less with saturated fats. You need to get out and exercise, you need to drink less alcohol," Dr. Axelrod says.

She says she has learned new recipes from the co-op and how to cook with foods, vegetables and spices that are cancer-fighting.

"We always talk about healthy eating and exercise and nutrition with our patients, and this is really a way of us really practicing what we preach," Axelrod says.

If this has you thinking about starting a similar program, consider running a pilot program first to gauge interest and then expanding from there.

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