On October 24th, the Food Access and Food Security Workgroup held its quarterly meeting. The discussion focused on economic opportunities in food access and food security initiatives. The workgroup heard from two great presenters from Health Care Without Harm and the Women’s Business Development Center.
Betsy Skoda, the New England Regional Coordinator at Health Care Without Harm, presented on the opportunities for healthcare to support economic activity in local food systems, and Skoda shared several examples of hospitals and health systems’ work on local food procurement and support of local food entrepreneurs. Skoda also shared data and resources on economic impact and return on investment associated with health systems investing in local food cultivation and business.
Find Skoda’s full presentation here.
Freida Curry, the Managing Director of Government and Veteran Services at the Women’s Business Development Center, gave the workgroup insight into small, local, women, and/or minority-owned businesses from a local perspective. Many smaller and more diverse businesses run into barriers when creating partnerships with anchor institutions, such as hospitals, because of limited capacity, resources, access, and experience. These are challenges can be alleviated through mentorship programs, adjusting payment models, or creating a group purchasing organization.
Find Curry’s full presentation here.
Health Care Without Harm’s position statement on local food procurement and how hospitals, as anchor organizations, can contribute to the food economy.
Plow to Plate: The Community Hospital as Change Agent
This article covers how Milford Hospital in Connecticut completely its food sourcing and in the process increased its Press Ganey patient satisfaction ratings.
This tool estimates the impact of local food procurement on the community’s economy.