Food and our food systems touch all aspects of our lives. The food we eat ties us to our culture and heritage, it reflects our personal values and tastes and connects us with family, friends, and community. Food sustains us - it gives us vital energy to live each day and determines how healthy we are. The way food is produced has profound effects on our health and the environments we live in - from the air we breathe to the water we drink, to the soils we rely on to produce food now and for generations to come.
But our current food system favors intensive, often toxic production practices that threaten the health of people and our planet, contributing to hunger, an epidemic of chronic diseases, poverty, severe environmental damage, chemical runoff contaminating our water supply, a climate crisis that threatens our food supply. As individual consumers, and as employees in institutions, we make decisions each day about the food we buy and the type of food systems and food policies we support. In this, we see opportunity.
We work to redesign our food system for healthier people and a healthier planet. Our role is to leverage major institutional purchasers to revive a regional food system and grow sustainable food production; incubate innovative food & community projects; and to engage health professionals as opinion leaders in institutional, community and legislative policy interventions to drive change.
Food permeates our environments in many ways, tying together communities on business, and familial levels. We work through a number of projects and with many partners to improve community food environments in innovative ways. Our goal: tie food and health together. That includes increasing access to fresh, healthy food where you live, work and play, but also making sure food entrepreneurs can support their ventures and ensuring a positive space for community activism. Many of our projects focus on bringing the healthcare and food sectors together, but food and health are so closely tied that this takes a number of community stakeholders working together on multiple levels to bring this vision to life.
Institutions spend millions of dollars every year on food. These millions are an opportunity to invest in strong, healthy communities and environments. Across the country, hospitals, universities, schools, and other institutions are working to include fresh, locally-grown products in their meals. We work to create a network to share ideas, tools, and resources to support a range of efforts to serve local foods in your meal program!
Every time you choose what to eat for lunch, you have a chance to affect the food system in a positive way. Anyone can be an advocate for healthy, sustainable, fair and affordable food. It can be as simple as asking for more local options in your cafeteria. This little step is more powerful than you think. Some changes take a little more coordination. We need to make sure our governments supports policies that help farmers make a living growing the healthy, sustainable food everyone deserves. We work in particular to educate and empower health professionals to advocate for good food, but anyone can learn more and take advantage of opportunities to have their voice heard.