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E-M:/ Press Release: Hospitals leading trend in purchasing local, sustainable food

Title: Press Release: Hospitals leading trend in purchasing local
Report Outlines Leading Trend in Health Care Sector: 
Hospitals Purchasing Local, Sustainable Food

Details efforts of 127 Hospitals Nationwide in buying healthier food to promote public health
(5/29/08) Hospitals across the country are changing their food buying to improve patient health and to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, according to a new report released today. For 127 US hospitals, the words "hospital food" and "healthy communities, healthy environment" are one and the same, according to a new report released by Health Care Without Harm today. The "Healthy Food in Health Care" report outlines concrete steps being taken by hospitals regionally that support the national trend to change their food buying practices towards more sustainably produced, healthier choices for patients, staff and visitors.

"Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo joins 127 facilities, in 21 states across the country, in pledging to source local, nutritional, sustainable food," says Ruth Blackburn, MPH, RD, Director of the Ecology Center's Healthy Food in Healthcare Project.  "These hospitals recognize that their healthcare food dollars are an important investment in preventive medicine."
The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge outlines the steps to be taken by the health care industry to improve the health of their patients, local communities and the environment.  This Pledge Report details the concrete food purchasing steps these facilities are making. For example:

In Michigan, Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo became the first Michigan hospital to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge just this month.  In addition to purchasing rBGH-free milk, Bronson has created a food service "green team" that regularly evaluates purchases, and will be purchasing produce from local farms this summer.  A number of other Michigan hospitals including in the Detroit area, Chelsea, Muskegon, Traverse City and Grand Rapids are also recognizing the link between the health of their patients and the health of their communities by supporting farmers markets at the hospital or purchasing directly from local farmers.
Hospitals around the country are linking their operations to impacts on human and environmental health, and an emerging part of this trend is increased attention to food service.  Support for changing food service practices is coming from national organizations including the American Dietetic Association with their 2007 Primer on Sustainable Food Systems and Emerging Roles for Food and Nutrition Professionals.i  Also in 2007, the American Public Health Association recognized the urgency of transforming our food system and passed a policy to promote environmental sustainability, improve nutritional health and ensure social justice.
 "By supporting local, sustainable food systems, these facilities are promoting health at the individual, community and global level," stated Ms. Blackburn. "Across the country, pledged hospitals are continuously working to address the public and environmental impacts from current industrialized food production practices by sourcing nutritious, local sustainable food."
The Ecology Center (EC) is a membership-based, nonprofit environmental organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded by community activists after the country's first Earth Day in 1970, the Ecology Center is now a regional leader that works for a safe and healthy environment where people live, work, and play.

To view the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge Report

Heath Care without Harm, an international coalition of more than 473 organizations in 52 countries, is working to transform the health care sector, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information on the healthy food pledge see http://www.noharm.org/us/food/pledge.
To learn more about HCWH's work on food and other issues related to health care www.healthyfoodinhealthcare.org
To learn more about healthy food purchasing at Bronson Methodist Hospital, please contact Jason Manshum, Public & Media Relations Specialist, Bronson Healthcare Group, Phone: (269) 341-8747
Cell: (269) 217-8716, Fax: (269) 341-7574. Email: manshumj@bronsonhg.org


Ruth Blackburn, 734-276-6568