(Wynnewood, PA) – As health systems increasingly focus on access to wellness resources, Lankenau Medical Center (LMC), part of Main Line Health, held a groundbreaking event to plant the first seeds of its new Delema G. Deaver Wellness Garden, which will be located outdoors on the LMC campus. In collaboration with Greener Partners, LMC is one of only a few hospitals nationwide to take the progressive step of planting and maintaining a year-round organic garden on site.
The Wellness Garden will serve as a hands-on educational center for thousands of students in the community who visit LMC each year through its Health Education Center, and provide healthy food options for a segment of patients, visitors and staff. An estimated 2,000 pounds of vegetables, fruits and herbs will be grown in the first years and featured at LMC’s farmer’s market and donated to local food banks.
In his remarks to the attendees, Phil Robinson, LMC president, stated: "While this may appear to be an unconventional approach to serving our community as a health care provider, this fits squarely with our mission to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve."
For the past 20 years, the Delema G. Deaver Fund has supported the ongoing advancement of youth in the region though health and wellness education programs. Representing the Deaver Fund at the event was Deaver Fund Trustee Reginald Middleton, who commented: "I commend Lankenau for their dedication to finding new and practical ways to integrate healthy habits and wellness efforts into our lives."
Also addressing the attendees were Gary Gordon, MD, LMC physician and board member of the Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based non-profit and LMC partner focused on food access; Chinwe Onyekere, associate administrator, LMC, who had the vision to create the Wellness Garden; and Meg MacCurtin, executive director of Greener Partners. Students from the Radnor Middle School Watershed Program, and members of the Junior League of Philadelphia, also participated in the groundbreaking event.
In photo: Planting the first seeds of the garden are (from left) Jennifer Malkoun, the Wellness Garden’s farmer; Chinwe Onyekere; Phil Robinson; Meg MacCurtin, Reginald Middleton, and Dr. Gordon. (Photo courtesy of Joe Henken)