Cornwall Manor Retirement Community and Rodale Institute, a global leader in regenerative organic agriculture, began a collaboration creation of the Cornwall Manor Rodale Institute Trailside Organic Farm earlier this year.
Through this partnership, a certified organic vegetable farm is being established on Cornwall Manor’s Woods Campus in Lebanon County. Development of the farm and organic management practices are being led by Rodale Institute’s team of industry experts. Cornwall Manor is the first retirement community to partner with Rodale Institute. Both organizations see this project as having the potential to serve as a model for other retirement communities across the country.
“Organic food is garnering increased attention among senior living organizations as a means to not only prevent disease, but improve health outcomes for all,” said Lee Stickler, Cornwall Manor president and CEO. “We sought to partner with the industry experts at Rodale Institute to establish the Trailside Organic Farm on Cornwall Manor’s Woods Campus to strongly support our wellness philosophy, which is based on the principle that each resident is entitled to enjoy and maintain the highest level of health, dignity, independence and activity.”
The Trailside Organic Farm began as a 2-acre certified organic farm located on Cornwall Manor’s Woods Campus, adjacent to the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Cornwall Manor will use the organic produce grown on the farm to be served in all campus dining areas. Utilizing Rodale Institute’s expertise in organic growing methods, Trailside Organic Farm will provide residents with healthy, hyperlocal food choices and a thriving natural environment that supports their health, environment and overall well-being.
Plans during 2021 included site preparations on the 2-acre farm location, hiring a farm manager and planting crops on 1 acre. By 2022, a high tunnel (unheated greenhouse) will be installed to extend the growing season and crops will be planted on an additional .75 acres. Locally grown, seasonal produce is expected to be seen in Cornwall Manor’s dining rooms by fall 2022. As the harvest increases over time, Cornwall Manor residents and team members will also have the ability to purchase fresh, organic farm produce for personal use.
“At our core, Rodale Institute really is a human health organization, and this partnership with Cornwall Manor helps us realize that mission,” said Jeff Moyer, Rodale Institute CEO. “Our society’s older adults and other vulnerable populations deserve healthy, organic food. Building a farm right on Cornwall Manor’s campus ensures that residents will not only reap the nutritional benefits of organic food, but they will benefit from the biodiversity, clean air, and connection to nature that organic farms foster as well.”
Learn more about the partnership at RodaleInstitute.org/TrailsideOrganicFarm.