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HFHC Newsletter Jan/Feb/Mar 2014

Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Newsletter
January/February/March 2014

HFHC Update

Hospitals Compete to Create Best Local, Healthy and Budget Friendly Meal

Facing ever expanding crises of diet related disease, antibiotic resistance, and environmental health degradation, the health care sector has been called on to respond at every level – from how physicians treat patients to the food hospitals serve them. With seemingly ever shrinking budgets, stepping up to meet this challenge is no small feat.  But meet this challenge they have! Hospitals across the country, and especially here in Oregon, have worked for many years to increase the amount of locally and sustainably produced food, offer healthier food and drink options, and reduce the amount of meat on their menus. Rest assured these changes do not have to be about restriction, loss of taste, or increased costs. Helping demonstrate this truth, and having some fun doing it, are the occurrence of chef challenges/events.

This March hospital chefs from across Oregon traveled to Salem to compete in the Oregon Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF) Chef Challenge. Four teams made up of four chefs from different facilities competed to create meals answering to the increasing demand for healthier, more local and appealing hospital meals at a low cost. This full day event included a robust vendor fair and educational workshops for health care food service staff.

 After hours of cooking (and likely many more of prep and planning), one team emerged the victor (though in our minds – they all won!). Congratulations to Robert Palmo (Salem Hospital), Scott Brownson (Oregon State Hospital), Trevor Farrer (Kaiser Permanente), and Ben Kolibaba (Kaiser Permanente) for creating a roast turkey dish and side dishes that exceeded all of the judging criteria.

Many hospitals participated in a similar challenge in 2011 hosted by Oregon PSR’s Healthy Food in Health Care Project. To see video, review resources, and learn about the nutrition and sustainability food labeling program that came out of that, visit:


Co-Benefits of Serving Local, Sustainable Food – Media Exposure

From implementing their own healthy, sustainable food projects, to reading this newsletter, and to seeing the many studies coming out – most hospitals in our area are aware of the environmental and health benefits of purchasing and serving more regionally and sustainably produced food. But along with the more immediate and obvious benefits, come some hidden benefits as well, like media exposure.

 Healthy eating, local and sustainable food, and revolutionizing health care food service are all currently hot media topics. You can find news articles on just about any food issue right now from GMO labeling to how the drought in California is affecting farmers and food prices. Beyond more traditional outlets, social media is a buzz with these topics as well; blog posts, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures abound with food related content. Tapping into this media craze around food is a great way to a) get some well-deserved kudos for your efforts, b) increase sales in your hospital cafeteria and c) make a strong statement that health care food service supports the health and well-being of the communities they serve through the food they purchase.

A great example of a facility getting their work highlighted in regional media is ElderHealth& Living. This residential memory care facility located in Springfield, Oregon has been hard at work on their healthy and local menu planning and purchasing. In the past year they have created a sustainable food policy, purchased a significant amount of their food from local sources, looked for opportunities to serve less and more local, sustainable meat, and joined the Institutional Food Buyers Alliance. Learn more about all of their efforts in this great article in Take Root Magazine.

To learn more about opportunities for highlighting your healthy food success share your stories with your marketing departments, local media contacts, or reach out to Gretchen Miller for more information.

Local and Sustainable Food Vendor Fair

The Institutional Food Buyers Alliance (IFBA) is hosting a food vendor fair this April 21st at the Food Innovation Center in Portland. Interested in buying more regional and sustainably produced food? This is the event for you! This intimate gathering will give hospitals and other large food buyers the opportunity to connect with vendors that can supply them with the products they need to support their Healthy Food endeavors. Come partake in light refreshments, win door prizes, and get all of your local and sustainable food questions answered! Register today!

 The IFBA brings together large institutions and producers in our region to leverage the millions of dollars spent each year on food purchases to support the local food economy, protect health and the environment, and create jobs. Over the past two years, the IFBA has met regularly to encourage and foster the link between local buyers and producers.  We hope to see you there so we can continue to develop and strengthen these connections! Learn more about the Alliance here.



LAUSD food efforts makes healthier farms too. The district is working with local farms that produce, a program that offers relief as growers switch from fruit over worries about an invasive and deadly citrus pest.

California drought: Central Valley farmland on its last legs. Even before the drought, the southern San Joaquin Valley was in big trouble. Decades of irrigation have leached salts and toxic minerals from the soil that have nowhere to go, threatening crops and wildlife. Aquifers are being drained at an alarming pace.

US farmers report widespread GM crop contamination. A third of U.S. organic farmers have experienced problems in their fields due to the nearby use of genetically-modified crops, and over half of those growers have had loads of grain rejected because of unwitting GMO contamination.

Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people. If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human.

Global food supply grows increasingly homogeneous, study says. In the last 50 years, what’s on dinner plates has grown more similar the world over – with major consequences for human nutrition and global food security, researchers said Monday.

Upcoming Events

8thNorthwest Environmental Health Conference – 8:30AM – 4:30PM (Portland, Oregon - PSU Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway)

8th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)
11th-12th  – Beyond Pesticides 32nd National Pesticide Forum - Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, Pollinators, Practices – All Day (Portland, Oregon – University Place Hotel and Conference Center, 310 SW Lincoln St.)
15th-18th7th Farm to Cafeteria Conference – (Austin, TX)
21stInstitutional Food Buyers Alliance Vendor Fair – 9:00AM-11:00AM (Portland, Oregon – Food Innovation Center, 1207 NW Naito Pkwy.)
24thWe Can Do Better Health Care Conference – All Day (Portland, Oregon – Ambridge Event Center, 1333 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.)

13th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)

2nd-5thCleanMed (Cleveland, OH)

10th - Friends of Family Farmers InFARMation – 5:30PM-8:30PM (Portland, Oregon – Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison)