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As the nation faces epidemics of obesity and diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, many hospitals and schools have targeted local food as an important opportunity to promote healing, nutrition, wellness, and learning. Session will explore the imperative of sustainable and environmentally responsible healthcare through sourcing local food. A replicable case study will be presented of a successful hospital-led community program that has become a catalyst in environmentally responsible healthcare and sustainability. Presentation will detail an innovative best practice strategy to source local food that have been successfully deployed by Sacred Heart Hospital (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) which commits 15% of its food budget to local food. The case study, recognized by the Wisconsin Governor’s Forward Award of Excellence, and profiled in national magazines such as Modern Healthcare and The Progressive, will detail initiatives that source nutritious healthy local food for patients, positively impact the local economy, create a local food infrastructure, and design safe growing practices. The session will demonstrate how an innovative community model of healthcare serves as a tangible witness of a hospital’s constant connection to mission and environmental stewardship, how benefits other institutions.


  • Understand how healthcare that sources local food is a holistic approach for the health and wellness and nutrition of patients.
  • Integrate into their mission the ethical obligation to safeguard future generations by practicing environmental stewardship and environmentally preferable food sourcing.
  • Articulate a strategic healthcare mission that integrates patient care with innovative community organizing that serves as a tangible witness of their organization’s mission.
  • Employ best practices and be inspired by innovative “out of the box” ideas for a “greener” healthcare that promotes healing and wellness.


Rick Beckler, Sacred Heart Hospital
Telephone: 715-717-4374
Rick Beckler joined Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1998 as Director of Hospitality. In that role, Rick has been a leader in rallying colleagues and community members to mission driven programs such as environmental sustainability and local food sourcing. His leadership developed the Franciscan community hospital from an environmentally-friendly facility into a nationally-recognized “Green” facility. Rick explains that the bar was set high for the organization because St. Francis of Assisi, the hospital’s patron saint, is also the patron saint of ecology. Thanks to Rick’s sustainability leadership, the organization was just one of just six hospitals in the nation to be recognized in 2008 with the Practice Greenhealth Environmental Leadership Award for innovative programs that set industry standards for waste reduction and pollution prevention. In 2009 and 2010, the Hospital again received Environmental Leadership Awards, honors that placed the organization among the best in the nation for creating a healthy environment for patients, employees, physicians and the community as a whole. Rick has also helped the hospital pioneer environmentally preferable purchasing by facilitating the development of a “buy local” food cooperative to allow institutions (such as hospitals, universities and schools) to source locally.

Webinar speakers have no financial or other interest in the sponsoring company and the sponsor has had no input into the content of the presentation.

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