Hudson Valley Hospital Unveils Organic Garden

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John Federspiel cuts the ribbon in front of the Hudson Valley Hospital Center's new organic garden, with Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster as his left, and Marisa Weiss, founder and president of BreastCancer.org on his right. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza
Hudson Valley Hospital Center has a new "Seeds for Health" organic garden. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza
Victoria Hochman, marketing director of Hudson Valley Hospital Center, Marisa Weiss, founder and president of BreastCancer.org, and John Federspiel, HVHC president, stand in front of the hospital's new organic garden. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Hudson Valley Hospital Center has an unusual cancer treatment program taking root on its campus—an organic garden. The hospital’s new 24 by 36 foot organic garden, to be maintained by cancer patients and community members, was presented to the public Wednesday afternoon. 

Founder and president of the world's number one online resource for information on breast cancer, Marisa Weiss of BreastCancer.org attended to encourage the hospital’s efforts and give a one-hour lecture on healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce women’s breast cancer risks.

“Breast cancer is far and away the most common cancer in women,” said Dr. Marisa Weiss, an oncologist, breast cancer survivor, and founder and president of BreastCancer.org. She spoke about the “Think Pink, Live Green” breast cancer campaign at the hospital, Wednesday morning. “The ingredients your cells use to build and run, matter,” she said, about lifestyle choices.

Weiss says genetic mutations, or inherited risk of breast cancer, account for only 10 percent of diagnosed breast cancers. She said many common, modern lifestyle choices can increase women’s risk of developing breast cancer, including exposure to chemicals through food, beverages, household products and cleaners. Some other modern choices which may affect a woman’s risk of breast cancer include reproductive choices, obesity, inactivity and alcohol consumption.

“We’re going to bring the resources of the hospital and our medical staff together to work with, not only cancer patients, but all members of the community, to teach them the benefits of an organic and healthy lifestyle, and the benefits are extraordinary,” said hospital President John Federspiel. He said that learning to grow organic food can also reduce the cost of buying organic produce.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture coordinated with the hospital to begin the “Seeds for Health” garden. Master gardener and Peekskill resident, Laura Perkins, assisted the hospital in choosing beneficial plantings for the organic garden.

About food industry practices, Weiss said, “I feel like we have to be our own advocate in this arena. I’m all in favor of manufacturers and distributors taking on more responsibility and taking on transparency of labeling so that we have less work to do, makes our job a little easier, but we’re not there yet.”

Those wishing to volunteer at the garden can call the Hudson Valley Hospital Center marketing department, at 914-737-9000, or visit the hospital website, www.hvhc.org, for more information.

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