Lehigh Valley Health Network teams with Rodale Institute to help combat food deserts
When people do not have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables, they are said to be living in a “food desert.”
Looking at the abundance of large grocery super stores that dot the region, it’s sometimes hard to believe that such areas exist in the Lehigh Valley. But, for various geographic, transportation and socio-economic reasons, pockets do exist where lack of easy access creates problems.
On Sept. 5, Lehigh Valley Health Network announced a partnership with the Rodale Institute’s Mobile Market to assist in the institute’s initiative to increase that access in the greater Lehigh Valley region.
The Mobile Market is a portable farm stand that brings organic produce to places people congregate.
Eric Bean, D.O., medical director of LVHN’s community health program said at the kick-off, in the drop-off area near the entrance to the Lehigh Valley Hospital - Cedar Crest campus, “We mean it when we say we’re a health partner. That includes preventive care and helping people maintain healthy living practices. That’s what led to our commitment to partner with the Rodale Institute.”
Rodale Institute, with its 333-acre organic research farm in Maxatawny, is considered a global leader in organic agriculture. It created its Mobile Market “to address the rising number of food-related health issues in the greater Lehigh Valley region,” Jeff Moyer, executive director of Rodale Institute, said.
“It’s impossible to have a healthy diet without access to healthy food,” Moyer said. “That’s why we are partnering with the Lehigh Valley Health Network to tackle the issue of food insecurity with a well-rounded approach.”
The Mobile Market kicked off its tour of LVHN facilities 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 5 at the hospital’s main entrance. Hospital staff, and the many thousands of people that visit the campus each day for medical reasons, were able to purchase produce, cheese and breads grown or prepared under the organic banner.
An executive chef with Sodexo, which provides the hospital’s food services, prepared a Thai eggplant salad with ingredients available at the portable farm stand. He offered samples of the salad and provided a written recipe to allow people to duplicate the salad at home.
LVHN dietitians and healthy living practitioners were on hand to answer questions and provide advice and take-away materials advocating healthy lifestyle practices.
The Mobile Market posted its full schedule for upcoming visits to other LVHN facilities.
The Mobile Market will again visit the Cedar Crest campus 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3.
The farm stand will visit the LVHN-Mack Boulevard facility, 2100 Mack Blvd., Allentown, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 12 and Oct. 10.
On Sept. 19 and Oct. 17, the mobile market will be at the LVHN facility at One City Center, 707 W. Hamilton St., Allentown, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The market will visit the Lehigh Valley Health Network-Muhlenberg campus, 2545 Schoenersville Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 26 and Oct. 24.
The Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach.
For the past 70 years the institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating that organic farming is the healthiest option for people and the planet.
For more information, visit the institute website at RodaleInstitute.org.
1-5/8 T. Zcanola Oil (was vegetable salad oil)
1-1/4 lb. eggplant-Japanese, fresh (sliced 1/4” on bias)
1-1/4 T. Z-Lime juice, fresh, pasteurized (conv)
1-5/8 tsp. sauce-fish, Thai Kitchens (conv)
3/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp. peppers-Jalapeno, fresh, minced
1-1/4 ounce (chopped fine) shallots, fresh
1/4 oz. (chopped) cilantro, fresh
1/8 oz. (chopped) mint, fresh
1) NOTE: Use gloves to handle peppers. Pepper juice can burn eyes. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling peppers.
2) Lightly oil or spray sheet pans with half the oil.
3) Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on pans. Brush or spray eggplant with remaining oil. Bake in a preheated 450 degree F. standard oven for 9 minutes or until both sides are golden. Remove from oven. Let stand for 4 to 5 minutes. Chop coarsely. CCP — Cool quickly (per HACCP) to internal temperature of 40 degrees F. or below.
4) Combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and Jalapeño for dressing. Mix well.
5) Combine eggplant, shallots, cilantro, mint and dressing. Toss gently to evenly coat. CCP-Hold refrigerated at internal temperature of 40 degrees F. or below for at least 30 minutes before service to allow flavors to blend.
6) Shelf Life: Use within 24 hours.