Northwest

The Northwest Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) Program has worked to harness the purchasing power and clinical expertise of the healthcare sector in Washington and Oregon since 2005 and 2007, respectively. The Northwest program engages a robust network of participating healthcare systems spanning Washington and Oregon State including the 61 healthcare facilities that have signed the HFHC Pledge.

This region is a leader in sustainable food systems with many active partners working to support a stronger and more resilient regional food system. We strive to conserve and protect our bountiful natural resources and strengthen regional farming communities to create prosperous local food economies.

Hospitals wield enormous purchasing power nationally and in this region; the average urban hospital spends $2-3 million per year on food and beverages. A 2013 study found that King County hospitals spend an estimated $30 million annually. In 2011, Multnomah County hospitals reported spending $20 million on food and beverages.

Initiatives

The Northwest Region works to create and implement regional models of the national initiatives of the Healthy Food in Health Care Program along with the following regional initiatives. Current regional initiatives focus on reducing the use of routine antibiotics in meat and poultry and strengthening local farming infrastructures to promote the growth of the organic food sector to reduce exposure to harmful pesticides.

  • Northwest Region Hospital Leadership Team, comprised of representatives from 45 facilities from across this large two-state region, provides a space for the sharing of best practices and key strategies for supporting regional and sustainable growers and producers, as well as a forum for learning about critical food systems issues and impacts.
  • Northwest Food Buyers Alliance was launched in January 2013 to bring large food purchasers together to support the health of the community, the local food economy and create jobs by increasing and promoting the purchase of regional and sustainable Oregon grown crops. The Alliance works together to leverage purchasing power to drive the market to increase supply, develop best practices around sustainable purchasing, and network with other buys, suppliers, and producers to identify future opportunities.
  • Organics to Hospitals Project leverages Seattle and Portland healthcare institutions to drive regional markets for foods produced without the use of synthetic pesticides. The regional program builds connections between healthcare facilities and local growers that are organic or transitioning to organic production by leveraging the capacities of existing supply chain networks and relationships with growers, distributors, hospitals, and partner organizations.  The project will result in building awareness of the critical human and environmental health issues involved, an assessment of key opportunities and strategies to increase hospital purchasing and finally a demonstration of purchasing to show market shift as well as models for further spread and uptake by other hospitals and in other regions.  

Act Now

Learn More

  • The Northwest Menu of Change Report - A 2015 Northwest Program report with highlights and survey.
  • Expanding Regional Organic Purchasing - A guide to increasing the purchasing of regionally produced organic foods. 
  • Alternative Purchasing Pathways, Case Study - Highlights from hospitals sourcing organic through a variety of purchasing pathways.
  • Northwest Hospital Farm Direct Purchasing Guide - This document is designed to support hospitals in identifying growers and producers that meet standards and preferences for food safety and sustainability. This is a two-part guide for hospital-to-farm direct purchasing and provides hospitals with tools including background information and a questionnaire for potential growers/producers 
  • Oregon Balanced Menus Recipe Book - A collection of institutional scale reduced meat and meat-free recipes gathered from Oregon and Southwest Washington hospitals

Partners & Supporters

Partners:

Supporters: