The Food and Nutrition Department at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) has established an innovative partnership with the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) through the Puget Sound Food Network (PSFN) project to bring local foods to the hospital for patients, visitors and staff. The partnership is a big step in the Wellness Initiative, with the goal of bringing healthy, organic, local and sustainable foods to UWMC patients and Plaza Café customers.
“The Medical Center is the first hospital in Seattle to join PSFN’s members,” said Lucy Norris, director of marketing for NABC. The NABC’s mission is to connect local farmers with large buyers such as hospitals, benefiting buyers by allowing them to buy local foods in the quantities needed. PSFN brings farmers together to make sure demands of large buyers are met. As a result, local farmers stay profitable and are less vulnerable to market fluctuations. Each week, farmers publish the produce they have available to a website called Farm to Table powered by Local Orbit.
The partnership with NABC and PSFN is a big step in the Wellness Initiative’s goal to provide exceptional foods to the UWMC community. The first purchase from the network, per Chuck Zielinski, director of Food and Nutrition, was one hundred pounds of blueberries from Bow Hill Blueberries in Bow, Washington. Great things are happening in UWMC Food and Nutrition Services!