Students harvest organic garden in pre-Earth Day celebration

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Earth Day isn't officially observed until Tuesday, but some Valley kids were already digging into the celebration on Monday.

On Good Morning Arizona Monday, we found dozens of Goodyear students getting back to their roots. The kids were helping Cancer Treatment Centers® of America (CTCA) harvest its 25-acre Hope Springs Organic Farm in honor of this year's Earth Day.

"As far as we know, we're the very first hospital to have a certified organic farm attached to the hospital," says hospital chef Frank Caputo. "We actually use the food to feed our patients, our caregivers."

CTCA and the student volunteers gathered vegetables and fruits, all the while learning the value of the Earth's natural resources with educational lessons on healthy eating, proper nutrition, and how to grow organic produce at home.

"Earth Day is coming up. It's a great way to celebrate that; to see how we can appreciate the great earth we have," one young volunteer told us. "When I was six years old, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I know it was one of the more stressful times of my life; I didn't really understand what was going on. So I think that any way I can help the patients at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America is kind of a way to give back for me."

The fresh, organic produce harvested will be sold to the general public on Earth Day, April 22, 2014 at Cancer Treatment Centers of America's first-ever public farmer's market.  20 percent of the proceeds will go directly to Arizona Assistance in Health Care, which assists Valley cancer patients with non-medical expenses when the cost of prolonged medical care creates financial hardship. 

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Western Regional Medical Center
14200 West Celebrate Life Way, Goodyear, Arizona 85338
Farmer's market: Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 8am-1pm