Nutrition Prescription

Long the butt of jokes, hospital food could be healthier for
both patients and the planet. Last November, 240 participants at
FoodMed, a first-of-its-kind conference, discussed how large
hospitals could burnish both their culinary and their environmental
credentials. The solution, reports In Good Tilth
(Jan./Feb. 2006), is leveraging their clout and purchasing power to
buy local, organic, whole foods.

Health Care Without Harm, a nonprofit coalition that cosponsored
the conference, has led the call for ‘ecological thinking’ about
hospital food. Hospital menus favor highly refined foods, the group
says, and ‘hidden behind these nutritional imbalances is a food
system largely reliant on methods of production and distribution
that hurt us and the environment in which we live.’

Some hospitals are making changes. Conglomerate Kaiser
Permanente is working to set up farmers’ markets on some of its
hospital grounds. St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, offers
organic foods and fair trade coffee. And Dominican Hospital in
Santa Cruz, California, buys organic produce from a community-based
nonprofit farm.

For more information about the HCWH campaign, visit

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