Employees of LincolnHealth are currently enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of the labor of five local farms, thanks to a unique program sponsored by its employee wellness program.
Each year, LincolnHealth partners with local farms that allows employees to purchase ‘shares’ in local farms which brings a wide variety of locally grown vegetables and in some cases, fruits to participants. This model, known as Community Supported Agriculture, infuses local farms with much-needed ‘seed’ money at the beginning of the growing season. In 2019, nearly 140 employees joined the program, raising nearly $30,000 for local farms. Purchasing runs through March and produce is available sometime in the early spring. Partners this year include Clark Farms (Damariscotta), Goranson Farm (Dresden), High Hopes Farm (Bristol), Morning Dew Farm (Newcastle) and Spear’s Farm (Waldoboro).
“Spring is a crucial time of the year for farmers purchasing seed, fertilizer and other supplies, and this partnership provides us financial support when we need it most,’’ said Janet Spear of Spear’s Farm. “It really is a win-win for everyone.”
LincolnHealth employees pay anywhere from $100 to $440 for anything from a quarter share to a full share, and the cost is made manageable by the ability to spread payments over 10 pay periods. In addition, MaineHealth’s worksite wellness program pays employees back for a portion of the cost.
“This is a great program that helps to support the local economy as well as the health and well-being of our staff,’’ said Kristina Verney who oversees the program and the successful Let’s Go Program at LincolnHealth. “Those who took advantage of this program look forward to heading to the farm stands to take their pick of fresh fruit and vegetables, knowing that they are also supporting the businesses of their neighbors and friends.”