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HFHC September/October 2010 Newsletter

Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Newsletter

September/October 2010


Healthy Food in Health Care Update

Connecting with Community: Oregon Hospitals Collaborate with Farm to School Projects

Over the past few years hospitals in Oregon and SW Washington have begun to partner with local schools to send the message that eating healthy, sustainable food is important for individual health, our communities and the environment. As centers of healing and health promotion these hospitals are already modeling this message through the food they serve to their patients, staff, and visitors. By taking a step beyond their own kitchens, these hospitals are able to amplify healthy eating messaging in their communities through collaborations with their local farm to school projects. Hospitals partnering with schools districts have placed themselves at the forefront of community wellness and are adding greater meaning to hospital health promotion. As Jodi Nelson from Wellspring – a division of Silverton Hospital Network – notes, the goal of these collaborations are to, “provide a comprehensive, shared voice that imparts the importance of eating fresh, local fruits and vegetables.”


Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital has been partnering with the Lebanon and Sweet Home Farm to School Project since 2008 to increase healthy eating amongst their hospital customers as well as school aged kids and their families.

What they are doing: Working with their local school districts on a Picks of the Month project. Each month the hospital creates a flyer highlighting a seasonal fruit or vegetable – providing nutrient information, a recipe, and general information about the produce. 3500 copies are printed at Samaritan Lebanon and distributed to local schools. The flyers also go out electronically to Oregon Department of Human Services, Linn County Health Dept, WIC, Boys and Girls Club, and Wah Chang of Albany. Pick of the Month is also promoted at the Sweet Home and Lebanon Farmers Markets. At the hospital the Pick of the Month is featured in 4 recipes each week in their cafeteria

What schools are they working with: Lebanon and Sweet Home Schools

Who at the hospital is involved: Michelle Proctor, Food Service Director; Athena Nofziger, Dietician; Nancy Kirks, Community Health Improvement Partnership Coordinator

How has it impacted the community: Each month thousands of families have access to recipes utlizing fresh, local products. Additionally, due to the success at Samaritan Lebanon, Oregon Department of Education has looked closely at them as a model for how other hospitals can become involved with Farm to School efforts. 


Samaritan Albany General Hospital is now translating the success in Lebanon to their local facility.

How did they start: In June 2010 Dana Train, RD, contacted her Regional Education District Manager and asked to get involved with the Pick of the Month project.

What are they doing: Coordinating with Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital to distribute Pick of the Month flyers at their hospital and at schools in Albany. Through this coordination they have been able to distribute more than 8,000 flyers a month encouraging community members to eat healthy, seasonal produce.

Who are they working with: OSU Extension, Benton, Corvallis, and Albany school districts, the state Farm to School Coordinator, and various departments within the hospital (Community Benefits, Public Relations, etc.). 

How has it impacted the hospital: Samaritan Albany General has seen an increase in sales since implementing Pick of the Month at their hospital. In July the Pick of the Month was summer squash, the first time they made their recipe featuring this product they ran out and had to double the order the second time they made it.


Wellspring – a division of Silverton Hospital Network – is excited to be starting a Farm to School collaboration with Woodburn School District this fall. Based on the success of the Samaritan Health System, they are looking forward to getting kids and their families excited about local, fresh and healthy recipe options.

What are they doing: Partnering with Woodburn School District on their Harvest of the Month project. Wellspring dieticians and chefs are creating fun, fresh and easy recipes utilizing the Harvest of the Month produce that kids can take home. Recipes are also published in their monthly newsletter and posted on their café blog. Wellspring also hosts a weekly farmers market which includes some of the same farmers that also provide produce directly to the schools. Each month the market has a kids cooking class featuring produce from the Harvest of the Month.

Who are they working with: Woodburn, Gervais, North Marion School Districts, Jones Farm Produce, and Happy Harvest Farms.

What has been the biggest challenge: Just getting started. They definitely have the energy but are now working on getting all the right resources to do the best job possible.


There are a number of ways you can get involved with your own local Farm to School project.

  1. First, contact the Farm to School point person in your area. Click here for a list of contacts for each where schools are working on local purchasing.
  2. Contact Joan Ottinger, the Farm to School, School Garden Program Manager at the Oregon Department of Education
  3. Contact Stacey Sobell, Farm to School Coordinator at Ecotrust
  4. Contact Gretchen Miller, Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Project Coordinator 

For more information on Farm to School Projects:

Welcome, Aireen Joven, Oregon Health Care Without Harm Program Assistant!

On August 30th Oregon PSR’s Heath Care Without Harm Program had the privilege of adding a new staff member. Aireen Joven will take on the role of Program Assistant providing support to both the Healthy Food in Health Care Project as well as the new Clinical Advocacy Project. Aireen comes to us from the Northwest Service Academy where she was providing administration, coordination, and support services as the Garden Based Education Americorps Team Leader. She will be working with us part-time while also beginning a graduate program in women’s spirituality. Please join us in welcoming her to our team and keep an eye out for her at future Healthy Food in Health Care events.   


Updates from Around the Region
A lot is happening with healthy, sustainable food at hospital food services around Oregon and SW Washington.


Legacy Good Samaritan is happy to announce the opening of a new concept in the Lovejoy Station Cafeteria, open to visitors, employees, and families of patients. Fresh Plate opened on September 27th, serving healthy sides and entrees, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Each food option in Fresh Plate fits within defined fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium limits that adhere to FDA restaurant “healthy” guidelines. Entrees include: cilantro lime Draper Valley chicken breast with mango pico de gallo, garbanzo bean & tofu masala, beef sirloin pepper steak, and organic ravioli with tomato cream sauce.   

Oregon Health and Science University recently took sustainability to another level.  As of August 2010, OHSU Food & Nutrition Services and the Carmen Ranch sisters from Wallowa, OR began their relationship of farm to fork. OHSU will now offer this Food Alliance Certified, grass-fed and finished beef with no added hormones or antibiotics. OHSU will purchase about 4-5 cows each week, using the bones for house-made soup stocks and major cuts for the retail menu.  The rest of the meat will be ground and either prepared for burgers & meatloaf for patient and retail menus or packed away in the freezer for winter. Carmen Ranch beef is lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than conventionally raised beef, contains more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, is high in health-enhancing fats like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and is rich in antioxidants like vitamins E and C and beta-carotene. The pasture-based production also creates low-stress, humane conditions for growing cattle while protecting delicate rangeland ecosystems. These are facts that this hospital likes to wave on its food service flag. OHSU is so proud to protect the health of the animals, the environment, and the people that inhabit it, by providing truly healthful food to its patients, employees, students and visitors every day.


Help us get the word out about the work hospitals are doing to improve the health and sustainability of their communities through their food service. Please send us updates on what you are working on at your facility. It’s a great way to get feedback as well as share your expertise with your colleagues.    

Community Partner Highlight

FoodHub Helps You Partner with Local Farms and Schools

FoodHub ( is a new online directory and marketplace that makes it easy and efficient to find local food producers and do business with them. FoodHub offers you a variety of ways to search for and communicate with local farmers and food producers, as well as search for specific products. Several Oregon and Washington health care facilities are already FoodHub members, including Oregon Health & Science University, Providence, Oregon State Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, Good Shepherd Medical Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Fort Vancouver Convalescent Center. Launched on February 1st, FoodHub is a tool created by the non-profit Ecotrust based in Portland, Oregon. Membership costs $100/year or about $8/month.


Ecotrust’s Farm to School Program is working on a wide-range of initiatives that enable schools to feature healthy, regionally sourced products in their cafeterias, incorporate nutrition-based curriculum in all academic disciplines, and provide students with experiential agriculture and food-based learning opportunities, from farm visits to gardening, cooking, composting, and recycling. Community support for these programs is critical! There are many ways that your health care facility can support local schools in sourcing and serving more local products. For example, the Wellspring Medical Center in Woodburn, Oregon is partnering with the Woodburn, Gervais, and North Marion school districts to promote their shared Harvest of the Month program for the 2010 – 2011 school year. Wellspring will highlight the same monthly featured fruits and vegetables as the districts on its menus and also send information out to the community via its newsletter. In this way, hospitals and schools can support each other by co-messaging the community about their work to source and serve more healthy, regional foods.


Both FoodHub and Ecotrust’s Farm to School program are great resources for hospitals that wish to get more involved with schools. You can use FoodHub to find schools that are purchasing local foods, or you can contact Ecotrust’s Farm to School Coordinator directly with questions.


For any questions about FoodHub or farm to school programming, or to find resources to support your efforts to source and serve regional foods, please contact Stacey Sobell, Farm to School Coordinator at Ecotrust: | 503-467-0751. 



Action Alert

Healthcare Voices in the Policy Arena

Each year food, agriculture, and health policy initiatives are voted on, passed, and implemented. Often a strong healthcare voice is absent from these debates. With rising rates of diet related disease, food safety crises, and environmental destruction, input from hospital facilities, healthcare professionals, and public health officials is sorely needed. As hospitals engage in environmentally preferable food purchasing, they are helping shift our food system in a healthier, more sustainable direction. By weighing in on policy issues that affect the food they prepare and the patients, staff, and visitors they serve, hospital facilities can further support a food system that promotes the health and wellness of our communities, citizens, and environment.  

Current policy debates you can lend your voice to include:

  • Signing the hospital or healthcare professional petition in support of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) - more information can be found here
  • Submitting a public comment on the labeling  and marketing of genetically engineered salmon - more information can be found here

New Guides and Resources

 2010 NE Oregon Food and Farm Online Directory – Find information online about food producers, farmers markets, food security, and community gardens in Baker, Union, and Wallowa Counties.



Risk to kids from toxic pesticides may be underestimated, study finds. A recent study found children’s exposure to residue of organophosphates present on fresh fruits and vegetables varies significantly seasonally. This was not taken into consideration when determining safe levels of exposure and may be putting children at risk.


Hospitals buy antibiotic-free meat, citing drug resistance concerns. Some 300 hospitals across the nation have pledged to improve the quality and sustainability of the food they serve, not just for the health of their patients but, they say, the health of the environment and the U.S. population.


Girls now begin puberty aged 9. Growing numbers of girls are reaching puberty before the age of 10, raising fears of increased sexual activity among a new generation of children. Scientists believe the phenomenon could be linked to obesity or exposure to chemicals in the food chain, and is putting girls at greater long-term risk of breast cancer.


What’s in Beef? New rules change what “organic” means for milk and meat. New organic rules bring regulations on requirements for ruminates, such as cows, more in line with consumer perceptions. The new rules require farmers and ranchers raising ruminates to graze their animals on pasture at least 120 days a year with 30% of their diet being grass. 



Upcoming Events


15thOregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup meeting (Portland, OR – Legacy Good Samaritan)

18th-19thOregon Public Health Association Annual Conference (Corvallis, OR)

21stWashington Healthy Food in Health Care Roundtable (Spokane, WA)

26thEcotrust’s FoodHub Training for Buyers and Sellers (2-4PM Madras, OR)

27thEcotrust’s FoodHub Training for Buyers and Sellers (2-4PM Bend, OR)



9th- Friends of Family Farmers - InFARMation (5:30PM Portland, OR - Holocene)
19thOregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup meeting (Portland, OR – Legacy Good Samaritan)



14th- Friends of Family Farmers - InFARMation (5:30PM Portland, OR - Holocene)
17thOregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup meeting (Portland, OR – Legacy Good Samaritan)