Oct 3, 2016

First Choice Community Healthcare Receives $50,000 donation from Presbyterian Healthcare Services

First Choice Community Healthcare Receives $50,000 donation from Presbyterian Healthcare Services for Greenhouse at South Valley Farm


ALBUQUERQUE- First Choice Community Healthcare received a $50,000 donation from Presbyterian Healthcare Services to build a greenhouse at the new South Valley Community Commons, a development project that is expected to create more than 100 new jobs while also promoting health.


The $50,000 sponsorship is the latest in a series of contributions to the farming project that will pay for improvements to transform a drainage pond and vacant lot into a lush vegetable garden and wetlands.


“We are very grateful for the contribution from Presbyterian and for the strong partnership that we have with the Presbyterian Center for Community Health to provide chronic disease prevention opportunities to our patients and neighbors,” said Robert DeFelice, chief executive officer of First Choice Community Healthcare.


The two health systems have been working together for three years to bring locally-grown vegetables, healthy cooking classes and a new walking trail to the South Valley Health Commons, with CDC grant funding and support from Presbyterian Healthcare Services and the Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation.


“Caring for our community extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics,” said Leigh Caswell, Director of the Presbyterian Center for Community Health. “Focusing on community health lets us partner with respected local groups like First Choice that are working to improve the underlying factors that impact health, such as access to healthy food.”


The donation will pay for a climate-controlled greenhouse to be constructed on land owned by First Choice that is being developed into a Food Hub and Farm in the South Valley.  The greenhouse will be used to grow native trees and plants for landscaping as well as vegetable starter plants, much of which will be sold to generate a profit to support jobs.


Other recent grants from PNM Fund and Wells Fargo will pay for hoop house-style greenhouses and an irrigation well for the farm site, which is adjacent to First Choice’s South Valley Health Commons.


The Food Hub and Farm operation are just one of several enterprises planned for the overall development, which covers 10 acres and includes a farm-to-table-style restaurant, lease space, a workforce training center, a wellness center and a permanent campus for Health Leadership High School.


“This is all about jobs and making the healthy choice the easy choice,” said DeFelice.