Healthy Harvest: Pilot Food Access and Education Program

Healthy HarvestIn the summer of 2013, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital teamed up for a unique pilot program called Healthy Harvest to introduce fresh and locally grown produce to pediatric and prenatal patients and families. The Healthy Harvest concept was developed to connect the vitality of sustainable local food systems to addressing the pressing issues of food insecurity and disparities in access to fresh and healthy food in our communities. By providing convenient access to fresh fruits and vegetables, we hope to positively impact our patients’ and families’ healthy food choices, which contribute to the burdens of obesity and chronic disease.

Vegetarian bags full of locally grown produce were offered to patients at a discounted price for several weeks throughout the summer. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital patients were offered vouchers from their physicians that could be redeemed for a discounted Healthy Harvest bag. The program also included tasting samples, preparation tips and nutrition education. Over time, the Healthy Harvest gained popularity among the patients and, in 2014, it will be expanded to multiple days within the pediatric and women’s clinics.

15 Environmental Excellence awards

UH received 15 Environmental Excellence awards from Practice Greenhealth, including the prestigious System for Change award, for our systemwide achievements in sustainability in 2013.