Hospitals Opting for Organic, Local Foods

We've taken note of a number of efforts to change the first kind of meal many people would associate with overly-processed, institutionalized food: the school lunch. Hospital food likely comes in a close second for that distinction, and several organizations are working with the health care industry to shift its menu from "low-grade, tasteless and nutritionally deficient" food to healthier and more sustainable options. SustainableBusiness.com's Insider takes a look today at efforts hospitals are taking to provide patients with more appetizing food that's also better for them and the planet. Among the changes occurring in hospital food service:

  • Catholic Healthcare West has an education program about the ecological impacts of the food system and is eliminate rBGH use in dairy.

  • Kaiser Permanente: is creating guidelines for sustainable food sourcing that includes local, antibiotic/hormone-free meats and dairy, and serving fresh fruit for desert. It has farmer's markets at 25 of its medical facilities.

  • Dominican Hospital (Santa Cruz, California) buys produce from a local organic farm and has a vegetable and flower garden on-site.

  • Good Shepherd Medical Center (Hermiston, Oregon) has eliminated fat fryers, serves organic produce and rBGH-free milk, and is eliminating food additives. Instead of beef, the hospital serves naturally lean bison.

  • St. Luke's Hospital (Duluth, Minnesota) serves only fair-trade coffee, rBGH-free milk, and wild salmon, and has a locally grown organic salad bar.
In addition to these efforts by individual hospitals and health care systems, MedAssets, a major purchasing organization for the health care industry, has struck a deal with United Natural Foods to provide organic food to over 2,000 US hospitals. We're happy to see that the providers of health services are opening up to healthier options for feeding the people for whom they care. Health Care without Harm has further case studies of these kinds of developments around the country ::Sustainable Business Insider

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