We offer a variety of ways to get and stay healthy. Mountain Park and The Orchard Community Learning Center, a nonprofit organization that brings locally grown fruits and vegetables to your table, formed an innovative partnership in 2015. The partnership gives our patients and staff easy access to affordable, fresh produce by hosting a weekly farmers market at our Baseline Clinic.
“Mountain Park got involved with the Orchard because we were looking at projects that were focused on our community members and their needs,” Troy Foster, Senior Director, Legal Affairs/Counsel shared. “The point was to give our patients and staff fresh, organic food that was also affordable.”
John Wann, who overlooks the farm, connected with Troy and the discussion of an on-site farmers market began.
“I was very impressed by what the organization was doing,” Troy shared. “I knew right away it was something we needed to offer our staff and patients. This partnership has helped our patients and employees stay healthy in a convenient and affordable way.”
John took charge of the Orchard and turned it into a nonprofit in 2011 after he retired from many years as an elementary school principal.
“When I was still working as a principal, I saw this property that was owned by Salt River Project and thought it would be a great place for the kids at my school to go to and get hands-on learning,” John explained. “During that time, the citrus trees were dying and I got SRP to let me use the property in exchange for maintaining it. Now, we have a variety of produce and chickens on the property. Plus, we are able to continue educating our children about food and healthy eating.”
Educating our youth about healthy eating is extremely important. With the resources Mountain Park and The Orchard offer, we are able to keep our young patients on track to a healthy adult life.
Children get to come to the learning center and get their hands dirty with composting, harvesting, and seeing firsthand how food is treated before it goes off to various community farmers markets, including the one held at our Baseline Clinic every Monday.
“I remember how I fell in love with the Orchard program 15 minutes after I walked in,” Troy recalled. “Hearing about how it developed and listening to John talk about how he was helping the community and the children in the community understand how they could benefit from working in the Orchard…That’s when I realized that we could bring that to Mountain Park. It was something that I hungered for.”
“I believe that our partnership with the Orchard is a perfect example of the culture here at Mountain Park,” Jennifer Kennedy, our Employee Wellness Coordinator added. “It’s all about trying to find new ways to improve the health of our patients and employees and to build healthier communities. Through the Orchard we are able to do that.”
Next time you are in the area on a Monday, stop by our Baseline Clinic between 8 a.m. and noon and get the freshest veggies and fruit around!