Learning with Mid-Atlantic farm-to-institution group

local food purchasing

Health Care Without Harm and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network co-convene the Chesapeake Farm-to-Institution Work Group in the Mid-Atlantic region. The work group is holding events to address some of the learning needs of the various stakeholders in farm-to-institution efforts.

In April, a two-part webinar series on food safety issues was held. Part one introduced the basics of food safety laws impacting fruit and vegetable farmers, food hubs, and distributors. Part two explored how local government, extension services, food hubs, and nonprofits have been working with farmers to help them obtain required certification.

In June, the community benefit and healthy food round table at Lankenau Medical Center introduced hospital community benefit professionals and allies to the “Delivering community benefit: Healthy food playbook,” a new suite of resources to support hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in addressing diet-related community health needs. The session featured regional examples of best practices. If you missed this event, consider listening to the recording of a webinar by the National Good Food Network that includes Health Care Without Harm staff members discussing the healthy food playbook and Tara Marchant of Emerald Cities Collaborative-San Francisco East Bay discussing an example of how anchor institutions are working together with community to build robust regional food systems that can increase community health, wealth, and climate resilience.

In July tune in to a video call with representatives from Local Food Hub, the Common Market, and the South Central Pennsylvania Harvest Hub to learn about opportunities for purchasing locally raised products through these aggregators for use in cafeterias, community outreach programs, and employee benefit programs.

In September, plans are under way to hold an interactive webinar on sustainable procurement policy and contract language.

In October, the Chesapeake Farm to Institution work group plans to hold a meeting at the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Work Group conference to discuss how to implement the learnings from 2018 into a cross-sector local purchasing project in 2019.