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HFHC July/August 2010 Newsletter

Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care
July/August 2010 Newsletter



Healthy Food in Health Care Update


Farm to Hospital Initiative Thrive at Oregon Hospitals
Hospitals in Oregon are redefining the way healthcare is delivered and it is not just through the traditional patient-provider route. Each year more and more hospitals (and food and nutrition departments, in particular) are subscribing to the belief that promoting healthy, sustainable foods is some of the best preventative medicine out there. One of the best ways to see this in practice is through the proliferation of farmers markets, farm stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) distributions on hospital grounds across the state. Hospitals, big and small, are working hard at supporting the health of their employees, visitors, and surrounding communities by increasing access to fresh, sustainable food. The process of hosting these Farm-to-Hospital initiatives, however, is not always an easy one and a number of hospitals have some unique solutions to share for common challenges encountered.


Challenge: Location of Hospital

Many hospitals are located in areas removed from residential neighborhoods and regular foot traffic making it difficult to have a robust enough market to support vendors. Some hospitals have addressed this by scaling back the idea of a full farmers market to a farm stand. Reaching out to one local farmer to sell at their onsite farm stand has worked well for the Kaiser Sunnyside farm stand. Since 2007 the farm stand has been a profitable endeavor for Thompson Farm and has provided Kaiser Sunnyside staff, visitors, and patients with more than 40 different types of fresh, sustainable produce throughout the summers.

Take Away Point: Develop your market with your hospital’s location in mind. If a full market cannot be supported because of where you are, think about scaling back to a farm stand or CSA distribution.


Challenge: Not Enough Space or No Parking Space Available

Similar to location, space can be addressed by having a smaller market, a farm stand, or a CSA distribution. A number of hospitals have enough space at their facilities to host a farmers market but cannot support the need for increased customer parking. St. Charles Medical Center in Bend had a very unique response to a lack of parking near the market by creating a “Veggie Valet.” There customers can shop at the market, leave their goods at the “valet” when finished, go get their car and pick up their goods on their way out. They also have an electric shuttle operated by a volunteer driver to transport customers who have parked far away from the market.
Take Away Point: Think about smaller farmers market alternatives to conserve on space. Think beyond the boundaries of the hospital to solve parking issues – “Veggie Valets,” shuttles, and encouraging public transportation may be enough to end parking woes.


Challenge: Marketing & Visibility
Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro experimented with time, location and market oversight to attract customers to their onsite market. They found that having the market at the main entrance of the hospital and taking place over the lunch hour increased foot traffic, overall visibility and access. After discovering they were not a well known option, they were taken under the umbrella of the Hillsboro Farmers Market to benefit from their marketing expertise and name recognition. A number of hospitals hosting farmers markets note the importance of visible signage advertising the market including placing A-frame signs, banners, posters, and flyers throughout the facility.

Take Away Point: Locating your market or stand in a highly visible area helps with attracting a variety of customers. Developing partnerships with community organizations (e.g., Farmers Market Associations) can help bring awareness to your endeavors. Onsite marketing is crucial.


Challenge: Generating a Customer Base/Improving Access
In addition to good marketing, hospitals have discovered a variety of ways to draw in more customers. OHSU mentions the importance of having a good balance of vendors selling a variety of products to make the market more appealing. St. Charles offers “Carrot Cash,” a payroll deduction program, to encourage employees to shop at the market. Legacy Good Samaritan offers vouchers to use at their farm stand as employee rewards. A number of hospital markets are now accepting credit/debit cards to accommodate potential customers without cash on hand. To capture customers who cannot make it to normal market hours, OHSU created a Market Basket Program in which individuals can pre-purchase a box of market produce be picked up at alternative times on market days. To encourage access to the market by all income levels, OHSU and Tuality accept EBT (food stamps) coupled with a matching program in which EBT users can receive up to $5 in matching funds each week they shop at the market.

Take Away Point: Make it easy to shop at your market. Offer a variety of ways for people to spend money on a variety of products.


Challenge: Not Enough Time
It can be a daunting task to take on the development of a farmers market or farm stand on top of your already busy work schedule. Three different Providence Hospitals encourage healthy, sustainable eating by operating a produce stand for employees stocked with local products from their produce vendor. Each week they receive a list of seasonal products from many different local farms that can all be delivered by their distributor. By working through this already established relationship, they avoid having to spend extra time coordinating with multiple farms on their own.

Take Away Point: Look for alternatives to traditional farmers markets, farms stands, and CSAs if they don’t work for your site. 


For more information on setting up Farm-to-Hospital intiatives at your facility please contact Emma Sirois or Gretchen Miller.


Oregon Hospital Farmers Markets

Kaiser Permanente - Interstate Farmers Market

26 produce, meat/poultry/seafood, prepared food, bread, and beverage vendors

Operating Since: 2007

Location: 3550 N Interstate St., Portland, OR

Hours of Operation: Mid-May – September Wed., 3-7PM


Oregon Health & Science University

30 produce, meat /seafood, prepared food, bread, honey, and nut vendors

Operating Since: 2007

Location: 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd., Portland, OR

Hours of Operation: Mid-May – Early September Tues., 11:30AM-3:30PM


St. Charles Medical Center

17 produce, meat/poultry, baked goods, beverage and cheese vendors

Operating Since: 2007

Location: 2500 N.E. Neff Rd., Bend, OR

Hours of Operation: June – September Fri., 2-6PM


Tuality Community Hospital

21 produce, prepared food (including their own food & nutrition department) and artisan vendors

Operating Since: 2007

Location: 335 SE 8th Ave., Hillsboro, OR

Hours of Operation: July – August Thursday 10AM-1:30PM           


Oregon Hospital Farm Stands

Kaiser Sunnyside Healthy Harvest Farm Stand

Thompson Farm sells 40 different products throughout the season

Operating Since: 2007

Location: 9800 SE Sunnyside Rd., Clackamas, OR

Hours: Mid-June - September Tues. & Thurs., 11AM-5PM


Providence Produce Days

Produce stand for employees featuring products from their produce distributor

Operating Since: 2009


Legacy Good Samaritan Farm Stand

Thompson Farm sells 40 different products throughout the season

Operating Since: 2008

Location: 1015 NW 22 Ave., Portland, OR (in the Stenzl Healing Garden)

Hours: Thursdays, 11-5PM


Oregon Hospital CSA Distributions

Legacy Good Samaritan -

Employees subscribe to Artisan Organics in Hillsboro, OR

Pick-Up Days: Wed., 4-6PM


 OHSU Market Basket

Pre-purchasing program connected to the OHSU Farmers Market (similar to a CSA).

Number of subscribers varies weekly, must sign up by Thursday before market

Pick-Up Days: Tues., Center for Health and Healing 12:30-2PM; BICC 4-6PM


Shriners Hospital for Children

25 employees subscribe to French Prairie Garden in St. Paul, OR

Pick-Up Days: Wed., 12-2PM


Community Partner Highlight

Oregon Tilth Supports & Promotes Organic & Regional Foods in Oregon Hospitals

In 2006, Oregon Tilth began serving as an adviser to the Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Project. Since that time, Oregon Tilth has supported the Project and participating hospital facilities in understanding organic food systems and the organic marketplace by making presentations on various topics. Through our directory of certified operations, we've also identified regional organic farmers, processors and distributors to help connect hospitals with suppliers. In 2008, Oregon Tilth awarded its Visionary of the Year award to the Healthy Food in Health Care Project. The Healthy Food in Health Care Project appreciates Oregon Tilth's support and looks forward to continued partnership.


And save the date! February 10-12, 2011 is the date for Organicology: “The Study of a Sustainable Food Future”.  This bi-Annual Conference will be held in Portland at the Doubletree Hotel. Organicology is an interactive educational conference designed to meet the diverse needs of the rapidly expanding sustainable food trade.  Organicology offers curriculum designed to advance trade knowledge across a broad front. 



Action Alert


Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently recommended limiting the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, citing concerns of antibiotic resistance. The federal agency is urging producers to use antibiotics only if medically necessary and with the oversight of a veterinarian. However, in the absence of comprehensive, mandatory regulations, use of these drugs in livestock production and subsequent antibiotic resistance will continue to persist and likely worsen. Read more on antibiotic use in animal agriculture and how you can take action here.


Of all the antibiotics consumed each year in the U.S. only an estimated 15 percent are used for human therapy. The bulk of the remaining antibiotics, an estimated 70 percent, are routinely given to poultry, beef cattle, and swine in their feed, not to treat diagnosed disease, but to promote faster growth and for routine disease prevention. Many such feed antibiotics are identical or very nearly so to human medicines. This currently legal, routine and unnecessary use of antibiotics in animal agriculture contributes significantly to the rise in resistant bacterial infections in humans.


PAMTA is federal legislation currently introduced in Congress that would end the use of important human antibiotics in the feed and water of animals that are not sick. To take action on this important issue:


New Guides and Resources

Changing Vocabulary of Food Purchasing: A Guide for Foodservice Professionals This is an informational guide from the Sustainable Food Lab created for food service staff and customers about the sourcing and production of a variety of food products.



Farmers Markets Bloom at Hospitals. Hospitals around the country have begun to offer patients, staff and visitors healthier food options through hosting farmers markets.


Study: ADHD Linked to Pesticide Exposure. Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Download the full study here.


New Alarm Bells About Chemicals and Cancer. The President’s Cancer Panel is the Mount Everest of the medical mainstream, so it is astonishing to learn that it is poised to join ranks with the organic food movement and declare: chemicals threaten our bodies.


Pesticide prompts scuffle over safety in California. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has proposed replacing a popular fumigant with methyl iodide despite concerns by its own scientific advisory panel that it could poison the air and water.


Upcoming Events


14th - InFARMation – 5:30-8:30PM (Roots Brewery - Portland, OR)

14thPortland Multnomah Food Policy Council Meeting - 4-6 PM (McCoy Building, 426 SW Stark, 10th floor – Portland, OR)



8-10th3rd Annual Northwest Sustainable Discovery Tour (Salem, OR)

11th - InFARMation – 5:30-8:30PM (Roots Brewery - Portland, OR)

11th - Portland Multnomah Food Policy Council Meeting - 4-6 PM (McCoy Building, 426 SW Stark, 10th floor – Portland, OR)



TBA – Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Roundtable - Balanced Menus