NJ DHS Commissioner tours hydroponic farm with CEO
Newark, New Jersey, September 20, 2017 – Newark Beth Israel Medical Center today announced its authorization and
participation as the first hospital-based vendor in the state and federally
run Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), with its hydroponic
farm, The Beth Greenhouse and Farmers Market. NJ SNAP sales will begin
there on October 5, 2017.
Staff from Newark Beth Israel and the Beth Greenhouse toured the hydroponic
farm with Department of Human Services’ (DHS) acting Commissioner,
Elizabeth Connolly, who helped advance the SNAP vendor application approval
with the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services.
NJDHS administers NJ SNAP benefits through county welfare agencies and
local boards of social services.
"We are proud to accept SNAP benefits at The Beth Greenhouse at Newark
Beth Israel Medical Center. This is a welcome addition to one of our most
successful wellness programs and fullyaligns with our mission to improve
and sustain the health of the communities we serve," said Darrell
K. Terry, Sr., MHA, MPH, FACHE, President and CEO, Newark Beth Israel
Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey.
Currently, about 100 pounds of food - cultivated and harvested at the greenhouse
- is distributed every week through sales at the Farmer’s Market
and in donations to local food pantries. It has always been open to the
community, but its designation as a NJ SNAP vendor will now allow the
Farmer’s Market to accept NJ SNAP benefits – disbursed on
an Electronic Benefit card – as payment. Proceeds from sales are
reinvested in programming for health and wellness activities in the local
“This SNAP designation is a perfect extension of our mission to provide
an affordable option for local residents to access fresh locally grown
organic vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as nutrition education through
hands-on farming, nutrition analysis, recipes and more,” said Barbara
Mintz, MS, RD, Senior Vice President of Health Living and Community Engagement
for RWJBarnabas Health. “We are excited that the SNAP designation
will allow us to extend our reach even further."
The Farmer’s Market has been in existence since 2011 and was one
of the hospital’s first wellness initiatives. At that time, the
food was grown in outdoor earth boxes. Its success led to the development
of the hydroponic greenhouse, which opened in May 2016. Like a traditional
greenhouse or farm it grows vegetables, fruits and herbs. Newark Beth
also uses the greenhouse to host educational programs that teach kids,
parents and community members about gardening, nutrition and overall wellness.
“Today’s tour of The Beth Greenhouse really emphasizes how
inclination and innovation can positively affect whole communities,”
said Commissioner Connolly. “In urban areas, there often aren’t
the opportunities or affordable options for fresh produce and that impacts
so many health and social factors. Newark Beth Israel is really at the
forefront of community-based holistic-wellness initiatives.”
NJ SNAP, formerly Food Stamps, is New Jersey's food assistance program
that supplements low-income families’ grocery budgets. Eligibility
depends on several factors like income, household size, and resources,
but generally, individuals or families with incomes up to 185% of the
federal poverty level are qualified. Examples include a household of one
with income less than $1860 a month or a couple with monthly income less
than $2504 or a family of five making less than $4437 a month.
As of June 2017, there were 787,356 people receiving SNAP benefits statewide,
114,746 in Essex County including 55,898 children.
About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the most comprehensive health care delivery system
in New Jersey, with a service area covering five million people. The system
includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center
in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical
Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth
Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical
Center in Newark, RWJUH- New Brunswick, RWJUH- Somerset in Somerville,
RWJUH- Hamilton, RWJUH- Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston;
three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation
hospital (Children’s Specialized Hospital), a freestanding 100-bed
behavioral health center, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers,
the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home
care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy
services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable
RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s second largest private employer
– with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents
and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding
quality and safety.
Contact: Linda Kamateh