NSMC News Releases

Community Farm Pilot Project holds groundbreaking at Mass General Brigham in Lynn
11/17/2021

Lynn, Mass. - The passion for food equity among Lynn advocates was on display Saturday for the Community Farm Pilot Program groundbreaking at the Mass General Brigham Healthcare Center in Lynn. This important project is part of a citywide effort to address food insecurity in the local community.

Salem Hospital officials and physicians join community leaders from The Food Project to build crop beds and prepare soil at the Community Farm groundbreaking Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the Mass General Brigham Healthcare Center in Lynn. The project will address food insecurity in the local community. (L-R David Roberts, M.D., president, Salem Hospital; Christine Valdes, M.D., family medicine physician, North Shore Physicians Group; Ludia Modi, North Shore regional director, The Food Project; Anika Whitmore, community programs manager, The Food Project; and Mitch Rein, M.D., chief medical officer, Salem Hospital.

The project is co-sponsored by Mass General Brigham members Salem Hospital and North Shore Physicians Group, working together with City of Lynn’s Food Security Task Force and the Lynn-based division of The Food Project. The Food Project is a non-profit sustainable agriculture organization that advances community improvement and education and provides employment opportunities for local youth.

Food insecurity rose significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic and has yet to decline to pre-pandemic levels. From 2019 to 2020, local food pantries in Lynn reported a 400 percent increase in demand, as many in the community lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. A recent survey in the city, reported that one in five Lynn residents faced food insecurity at some time over the past year.

“The Community Farm Pilot Program is an important way we can help patients and residents nourish themselves with sustainably grown produce while helping to rebuild a sense of community after the social isolation of the pandemic,” says Dr. Christine Valdes, a family medicine physician at North Shore Physicians Group and Salem Hospital’s medical director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We are delighted to be working with the Food Project and the City to provide a space for healthy, sustainable food for our neighbors. This vital work is more important than ever right now.”

Youth from Lynn Grows/The Food Project join Dr. Christine Valdes, family medicine physician at North Shore Physicians Group to fill planters at the Community Farm Pilot Project groundbreaking on Saturday, November 13, 2021. Dr. Valdes is leading the initiative to address food insecurity in the local community.

Salem Hospital raised more than $100,000 to fund the Community Farm Pilot Program through its Annual Golf Classic last September. Leadership gifts from the Eastern Bank Foundation and Commonwealth Radiology, as well as generous commitments from McCall & Almy and other dedicated supporters played an important role in funding the project.

With food insecurity growing at an alarming rate, the Community Farm will build pathways for local families to access healthy food,” says Nancy Huntington Stager, President and CEO of the Eastern Bank Foundation. “We’re proud to support this important program and work with those coming together to make it happen."

Youth from Lynn Grows/The Food Project construct and fill planters at the Community Farm groundbreaking on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the Mass General Brigham Healthcare Center in Lynn.

The groundbreaking Saturday ushered in Phase One of the Community Farm which is being established at the Mass General Brigham Health Care Center in Lynn, an outpatient medical facility offering primary, specialty and urgent care that opened last year on the former Union Hospital campus. Phase Two of the project will expand the Farm to the senior housing complex, currently under development on the remainder of the former Union Hospital site.

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About Salem Hospital

Salem Hospital is a member of Mass General Brigham, an academic healthcare system founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital that is uniting great minds to make life-changing impact for patients in local communities and around the world. Serving the North Shore community for more than 100 years, Salem Hospital provides innovative medical, surgical and psychiatric care through an array of inpatient, outpatient and virtual settings including Salem Hospital, the Epstein Center for Behavioral Health, North Shore Physicians Group and a medical staff of nearly 700 physicians practicing in a wide range of specialties. For more information, please visit nsmc.partners.org. For information about Mass General Brigham, visit massgeneralbrigham.org.

About Mass General Brigham
Mass General Brigham is an integrated academic health care system, uniting great minds to solve the hardest problems in medicine for our communities and the world.

Mass General Brigham connects a full continuum of care across a system of academic medical centers, community and specialty hospitals, a health insurance plan, physician networks, community health centers, home care, and long-term care services. Mass General Brigham is a non-profit organization that is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community.

In addition, Mass General Brigham is one of the nation's leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.