Wisconsin Hospitals Want More Local Food For Patients' Plates

Gundersen Health And UW Health Seek Sustainably Raised Meat, Produce

[Wisconsin Public Radio] Hospital food, once the butt of jokes, is changing. Some Wisconsin hospitals are aiming to serve food as fresh and appetizing as a meal cooked at home or in a decent restaurant.

But the food isn't just meant to please taste buds. Some hospitals are looking at the big picture: trying not only to serve food that's good to eat, but is purchased locally and raised in a way that doesn't damage the environment. In a word: sustainability.

At an Evidence-Based Health Policy Project forum last December on the state's role in food systems and nutrition, UW Health's Executive Chef Ellen Ritter explained how they want to buy more produce, meat and dairy from Wisconsin that's sustainably raised.

"When you look at the amount of money we spend and the volume of food we purchase every year, there’s a big need to do it in a very smart way," she said.

Ritter cites studies compiled by the American Independent Business Alliance which show, on average, 48 percent of every purchase at a local independent business recirculates locally as compared to 14 percent through a chain store or big distributor...(Continue reading).