Hospitals and healthcare facilities across the country are making great strides in supporting a sustainable food system and becoming models of healthy eating. Hospital Green Chef is a two part endeavor that aims to both highlight the efforts hospitals have made in improving the health and sustainability of the food they serve as well as assist them helping their patients, staff and visitors choose meal options that are protective of human and environmental health. that originally started as an educational event highlighting the efforts hospitals in Oregon are making to improve the health and sustainability of the food they serve.
Oregon Hospital Green Chef Challenge, a one day event first held in September 2011, culminates with a hospital chef challenge where teams of chefs make meals adhering to strict sustainability and nutrition standards. Teams develop recipes and create meals that are ultimately evaluated by a panel of distinguished judges.
With the success of that event, attended by hospital food service staff, dietitians, and administrators, attendees walked away inspired to continue to make changes to improve the health and sustainability of the food they serve at their own facilities. During the months following the original event hospitals collaborated through the Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care Workgroup to develop a meal standards and menu labeling project.
Through the Hospital Green Chef Meal Standards project hospitals work to support consumers growing demand for access to healthy, sustainable food, utilizing slightly modified meal standards from the Challenge. Patient and cafeteria meals meeting the standards are labeled with the Hospital Green Chef logo. The standards and logos are the same across hospitals regardless of system affiliation, ownership, size, or location.
Hospital Green Chef is coordinated by Oregon Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC), a project of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. The Oregon HFHC Project is a regional roll out of a national program spearheaded by Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of health and environmental organizations working to transform the health care into one that supports both public and ecological health. Since 2005, the Oregon HFHC Project has worked with hospitals to improve the health and sustainability of their food service for the benefit of their patients, staff, visitors and the environment.