The innovators invited to the program have all applied with a vision to enhance the impact of food in their organizations. Through the early months of the program, the cohort will also be supported to define collaborative projects to undertake. These initiatives and projects will aim to have a system-level impact that resonate outside of individuals organizations. They can relate to the practices, culture, and internal organizational development of participating institutions, or could be regional collaborations between cohort members and regional value chains.
Visit the Innovator profiles for more details on the projects they are undertaking. Collaborative projects will be shared here as of Summer 2017.
- Developing new menus that feature more sustainable, nourishing foods that promote healing and comfort, e.g. developing recipes and skills to serve more seasonal foods, offering more country foods to indigenous patients, and offering fresher cafeteria options for staff and families to enjoy.
- Shifting purchasing towards more local sustainable food sourcing, e.g. strengthening relationships with sustainable local food value chains, for example production planning with local farmers and food hubs or value chain education about food contract needs and RFP processes.
- Engaging patients, families and staff in decision making and food education, e.g. including patients in menu development committees, making patient food journey maps, developing educational patient tray tickets, or organizing farm visits.
- Developing institutional policy that supports a culture of food for health, e.g. hosting lunchtime food for health design jams or hackathons, writing an institutional food for health procurement policy, or hosting community food storytelling circles and staff training days.
- Influencing public policy and regulation that affects food in health care, e.g. storytelling and communication efforts around how regulation affects food, navigating contracting options in the context of trade agreements, exploring alternatives to rebate programs, tackling food safety myths and realities to better serve patients and sustainable local food networks, or meeting with policy-makers to discuss policy improvements.
- Producing evidence of the benefits of a food for health approach, e.g. research into patient satisfaction and the clinical outcomes of serving more nourishing foods, social media campaigns with patients and staff, or other design research efforts to track the impact of food on patient and community health.
- Reframing ‘best value’ and related criteria in RFPs, e.g. exploring more expansive definitions of ‘best value’ and defining clear measures for evaluating environmental and community benefits that better serve patients and the institutional mission.
- Addressing environmental concerns related to food choices, e.g. reducing climate change impacts based on food origin choices, reducing antibiotics by sourcing less and better meat, or efforts to reduce food waste.
- Addressing social determinants of health, e.g. prescribing fresh fruit and vegetables or other efforts to support patients and staff to access more affordable, fresh, nourishing foods; engaging the health community in broader determinants of health such as adequate incomes.
- Other projects that aim for systemic impact.