Union Hospital | Focus on Sustainable Foods

Union Hospital adopted a Healthy Foods Program to achieve a sustainable and healthier environment for its community. It has adopted practices that have helped to achieve its sustainable food goals, including using seasonal menus to take advantage of cost savings, reducing the amount of meat purchased to reduce costs, and replacing higher-cost prepared and processed foods with fresh, whole ingredients.  

In 2012, Union converted its kitchen to nearly 100 percent from-scratch cooking, eliminating processed foods, trans fats and artificial flavorings.  This increased kitchen teamwork, and improved patient diets at the hospital.  Since the organization has more control over what goes into its food, it is able to provide greater variety to patients with special diets. For example, the hospital can now replace low-sodium processed items with lower-sodium and -fat items made in-house, where the exact amount of fat, sodium and seasoning is controlled. The addition of a vacuum sealer helps Union Hospital to extend the local harvest season by purchasing fresh ingredients in season locally, prepping then and freezing them, allowing Union Hospital to serve local, sustainable foods to  patients, employees and visitors year round.

Union Hospital has increased its percentage of sustainable local purchases for meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits and dairy from 18 percent to 56 percent between 2009 and 2012. Union Hospital's Healthy Foods Program is not only sustainable, but also healthier.