‘Nourished’ hospitals spend over $4 million on local food

Seacoast Eat Local_winter farmers marketWinter farmers market in Rollinsford, N.H. (Seacoast Eat Local/Flickr)

The end of the summer bustle marked the end of the first year of our Nourished by New England seasonal harvest campaign. Our review of data from the first year (thank you for sharing your data!) shed light on how hospitals are buying local and seasonal foods, using their food service to support local farm, fish, and food businesses, and educating customers, staff, and patients on the value of and possibilities for seasonal eating in New England.

Based on the data provided by hospitals that completed the quarterly reports, we estimate that the 42 participating hospitals represent over $53 million in total food budgets. They spent over $4 million on local foods and $823,933, or 20 percent of local spending, on the Nourished featured items.

As part of the Nourished assessment, we also conducted on-site surveys at select hospitals, at the program launch in September 2017 and again in October 2018, to get a sense of what drives cafeteria purchasing. The top three associations with local food were support for local farms, support for the community, and taste.

For year two, we would like to challenge hospitals to increase the total dollars they spend on local food by five percent (e.g. if a hospital spent $10,000 on local foods in 2018, that would mean increasing the amount spent to $10,500—an increase of just $500).

Celebrate spring by signing up to participate in this second year of Nourished by New England. The spring season starts April 1.

Learn more, sign up, and download promotional materials and recipes.