South County Hospital Wins the Local Food Challenge

As a member of Food Solutions New England (FSNE) we’re excited to share this post from the FSNE blog. This post comes from John Stoddard, Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for the global non-profit organization, Health Care Without Harm. John works throughout New England on facilitating local and sustainable food procurement for health care institutions, with a specific focus on Connecticut and Rhode Island. We collaborated with Health Care Without Harm on a Seafood Throwdown in Rhode Island in September.

Health Care Without Harm congratulates South County Hospital for winning the Rhode Island Health Care Local Food Challenge.  South County outperformed their competitors in local food purchasing, education, and employee engagement, and has won $1000 in honor of their great efforts. “At South County we make every effort to provide a comfortable and healing environment for our patient, staff, and visitors, and the food we serve is a big part of that”, said Meghan Keenan, Director of Food and Nutrition.  “We also recognize our role in the community to support our local economy and our local food producers, and that a strong local food economy means a healthier community overall”.

RI Food Challenge Roger Williams demo

Five Rhode Island hospitals competed in the Local Food Challenge in addition to South County, including Bradley Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, and Roger Williams Medical Center. “All of the hospitals in the Challenge deserve congratulations”, said John Stoddard, Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm. “Each participant went the extra mile to purchase local foods and educate about local foods in their facilities.” 

The Local Food Challenge began in May 2015 and concluded in September 2016 with a Seafood Throwdown at the Rhode Island Seafood Festival in Providence.  Participants competed throughout the year in the areas of purchasing, education, and employee engagement around local foods.  Through the Challenge, participants collectively spent over $314,000 on local foods, held 17 educational events, and 251 employees were given access to local foods through Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Veggie Box program.  Congratulations to South County and all the participants for their work.  Our farmers, fishers, and the whole community thanks you! 
Health Care Without Harm administered the Challenge through a LASA grant, while utilizing the support of our partners, Farm Fresh Rhode IslandNorthern Rhode Island Area Health Education Center and The Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI).