Nourishing Patients and the Planet: The Role of Hospital Food Service in Climate Leadership

[MediumIn honor of Earth Day, Health Care Without Harm wants to celebrate healthcare food leaders, and the impact that they are having beyond hospital cafeterias.

Food is the best medicine. It’s why foodservice professionals work tirelessly to ensure their facilities purchase the freshest food to serve patients, staff, and visitors. They have even broadened the scope of “healthy” food, taking into consideration where it comes from, and how it’s grown or raised. They strive to provide the people who eat at their facilities with organic, local and sustainable products. In the work that they’re doing every day to make food healthier, they’re also helping lead the charge against climate change, the greatest public health threat — and opportunity — of the 21st century.

If food procurement remains entangled in industrial agriculture, this is in direct contradiction to health care’s healing mission. The healthcare sector can use its annual buying power of $12 billion (in the United States alone) to reduce the climate impact from agriculture by purchasing and serving foods that are protective of the climate.

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