An innovative new idea combining anti-cancer treatments and the principles of organic farming has taken root at the Hudson Valley Hospital Center, the 128-bed regional hospital located in Cortlandt Manor.
The facility unveiled its new “Seeds for Health” initiative, featuring an expansive on-site organic garden on the grounds of its Pataki Center, at a launch event Wednesday that featured hospital officials, community members and guest speaker Dr. Marisa Weiss, the president and founder of www.breastcancer.org.
Weiss said it’s critical that hospitals like the Hudson Valley Hospital Center take the initiative to involve their patients in food planning, which may seem simple but can be a critical component of healthy living and cancer prevention.
“You really are what you eat, what you do in your everyday life. Our bodies we build from what we eat, what we drink, what medicines we consume,” said Weiss, who also gave a morning lecture at the Pataki Center’s state-of-the-art conference room before the main garden launch event.
Weiss said food is the only aspect of human health that can be controlled, without exception, on a daily basis.
“It’s great that the hospital recognizes the importance of food on your health,” she said. “To have an organic garden on your grounds emphasizes that patients should not just do what the hospital says in a medical setting but in your everyday life.”
Deborah Neuendorf, the hospital’s vice president of administration, said the organic garden will be used to teach patients in cooking demonstrations inside the hospital’s kitchen about the importance of organic food and healthy eating.
That’s crucial for decreasing the risk of cancer, she said.
“These are simple changes in your life that can protect you, your children and the next generation,” Neuendorf said. “They think it’s hard things. We want to prevent [cancer.] Ir’s such a life-changing event to have to deal with cancer that we would so much rather prevent cancer.”
Neuendorf said Weiss’s lecture, which spotlighted 17 simple lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce the risk of cancer, was a useful resource, as is her website: www.breastcancer.org.
“She did a wonderful talk this morning,” she said. “And she’s just such a fabulous resource on her website.”
The garden features a variety of vegetables and herbs and will be supervised by local volunteers working under the supervision of Laura Perkins, a Peekskill resident and the gardener at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Whatever is not used by the hospital will be donated to a food pantry in the area.