Food Service

Virtual cohort group


Health care facilities offer healthier menus by working with farmers to purchase locally and sustainably grown products, reducing the amount of meat they purchase and serve, and going beyond their walls to help meet the food needs of their community. This cohort will provide partners a space to learn about new trends and technologies and collaborate with their peers on implementation strategies. Sessions will cover ways to improve the sustainability of food service operations and support healthy food access, local food economies, and resilient food systems.

Target audience: Sustainability and/or facility/operations, food and nutrition 
Level: Beginner to intermediate

John Stoddard Facilitator:
John Stoddard


“Our food program aligns with the hospital’s overall mission in that our aim is to serve, healthy, sustainable foods that are good for both our patients and the planet.” — Dawn Cascio, food service director, The Valley Hospital

2022 Schedule

March 17, 2022 4:00 PM EST

Topic: Basics of a sustainable food service 

Discussion questions:

  1. What policies does your hospital and/or system follow to improve the sustainability of the food purchased?
  2. What, if any, food is produced within 250 miles of your facility that could be substituted for a conventional choice in the current menu?
  3. From within your system, whose support would be useful to enact a stronger sustainable food policy?
  4. How are you tracking and/or measuring your progress?
June 16, 2022 4:00 PM EST 

Topic: Plant-forward strategies 

Discussion questions:

  1. What are the primary motivators for your facility to serve more plant-forward meals?
  2. Talk about the culture of your community. National trends indicate that people are eating more plant-forward meals, do you see this reflected around you?
  3. Is there a large immigrant or indigenous population in your community whose needs could be met with more plant-forward menu items?
  4. What do you see as the primary challenge in getting more plant-forward options on the menu?
September 15, 2022 4:00 PM EST 

Topic: Food waste  

Discussion questions:

  1. What are the primary motivators for your facility to reduce food waste?
  2. Does your facility or system have a policy and/or plan for preventing and reducing food waste that considers the EPA’s food recovery hierarchy?
  3. What strategies do you use to prevent food waste?
  4. Describe your efforts in donating surplus prepared food. What are the challenges? How have you addressed the challenges?
  5. How are you tracking and/or measuring your progress in food waste reduction?
  6. How have your food waste reduction strategies deepened your connection with the community, such as hunger relief organizations?
December 1, 2022 4:00 PM EST

Topic:  Values Based Food Purchasing: Local, sustainable, and equitable food purchasing

Discussion questions:

  1. To what degree does your organization's mission and values dictate your food purchasing practices?
  2. How does your organization use contracts with suppliers or internal policies to give preference to local, sustainable, and racially diverse producers?
  3. How do you track and verify a product is consistent with your institution's values?
  4. How do you partner with farmers, ranchers, and others in the community to meet your values based purchasing goals?

Ready to get started? Register today.

Sessions take place on a recurring basis using Zoom as the meeting platform. To join this cohort or any of the other cohorts, please register today. If you have discussion topic ideas or want to invite a peer, please contact the cohort facilitator. 

Register today

Recent session presentations 

Join Practice Greenhealth

Practice Greenhealth is the health care sector’s go-to source for information, tools, data, resources, and expert technical support on sustainability initiatives that help hospitals and health systems meet their health, financial, and community goals.

Join now