Celebrating the success of Nourished by New England
Nourished by New England had the complementary goals of increasing the demand for local foods from health care while supporting food producers to scale up their supply to meet the demand. The program began in September of 2016 and is concluding this month. Initial results show that the program met its goals around supply and demand.
For the 42 participating hospitals, the focus was a quarterly seasonal harvest program, launched in 2017. Marketing materials educated customers, visitors, and staff about local foods and to highlight each facility's work to serve them. In the first year of the program, hospitals infused $4 million into their local economies through the purchase of the featured seasonal foods, including beets, potatoes, winter squash, haddock, pollock, radishes, and red fish.
The program also provided 19 farm and food businesses with one-on-one business consulting, marketing support, and a variety of opportunities to connect with hospital purchasers, through the Faces of New England initiative. Preliminary analysis shows that participating businesses selling value-added products such as tortillas, tofu, and squash puree, increased their total sales an average of $195,548 year over year, with wide range across the group.
Participating farmers who sell raw produce and meat had more variation in their sales than the value-added producers with some showing large increases and some showing decreases. Despite the challenges some faced, the raw-product producers saw an average increase of $127,000 in sales. Stay tuned for updates in November with a deeper analysis of Nourished by New England and information about future programming.