Farm to Healthcare


 Ryan Garza |

Ryan Garza |

Healthy food cannot be defined by nutritional quality alone. Here at NCAT, we believe that healthy food is good for the people who grow, harvest, prepare and eat it, and for the lands and waters where it is produced. However, the common practices in our industrialized food system frequently create significant environmental and health problems.  Industrial food production depends on inputs that contribute to climate change and degrade the environment via pollutants in the soil, water, and air.  In the U.S. our largest healthcare expenses tend to be stroke, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It is no surprise that these are also among the leading causes of death in our country, and that all four are directly linked to food.

Check out these websites for more information about nationwide Farm to Hospital efforts:

Healthcare without Harm: Healthy Food in Healthcare
Farm to Institution New England (FINE): Healthy Food in Healthcare
Farm to Cafeteria Canada: Farm to Healthcare Articles
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Research, Webinars, and Toolkits
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies: Field Guide for Healthy Communities
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative
Farm to Hospital resources from Food Hub

Farm to HealthCare Video

In partnership with the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center in Ronan, NCAT has produced this video which details the successes of Farm to Healthcare in the Flathead Valley.  In particular, this video focuses on the relationships between Kalispell Regional Medical Center, the Western Montana Grower’s Cooperative, Harlequin Produce, and the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center.

NCAT’s Statement of Purpose

Healthcare facilities have the capacity to be anchor institutions for healthy communities, not just by cultivating physical health, but environmental health through their purchasing practices as well.  Research shows that social determinants may be even more important factors than clinical care in creating healthy communities. Strong communities, equitable economies, and access to healthy food are among these social determinants. Sourcing local food not only provides patients with healthier options, but it also provides a community benefit by working to achieve these social determinants. NCAT seeks to work with hospitals around Montana to utilize their purchasing power, expertise, and voice to cultivate more sustainable local food systems. We want more hospitals to be a part of the conversation and practice around creating resilient food systems through local procurement and investing upstream in public health for Montanans.



Jessie Wilcox presentingDid you miss out on the Nourishing People and Sustaining Communities Farm to Healthcare conference? If so, check out these videos! You can view of all of the presentations and panels from the event to learn about how healthcare food service managers, chefs, dieticians, and administrators are looking for ways to serve fresh, local food to their clients and staff. Click here to view.

While great effort has gone into getting healthy and local food into our schools, hospitals and healthcare facilities are also working to provide patients and staff with the best food possible while looking out for the environment, cutting costs, and reducing waste.

We are putting on a Farm to Healthcare conference in partnership with Livingston HealthCare called Nourishing People and Sustaining Communities on November 7, 2014. Join hospital dieticians, foodservice managers, assisted living directors, and local farmers and ranchers from around Montana to discuss the challenges and opportunities of bringing local, fresh, healthy foods into healthcare facilities for the benefit of patients, staff and communities. The day will begin at the Shane Lalani Center for the Performing Arts in Livingston, MT.


Please register here if you are interested in attending. The cost is $35.00 and includes lunch. Please see the following agenda to review speakers and topics. Thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing you there!

Nourishing People and Sustaining Communities Agenda
Arrive and check-in

Welcome and Keynote: Sustainable Hospital Food Service: Restoring Health and Prosperity to Rural Montana
Jessica Wilcox MS, RD, LN: Food and Nutrition Services Manager, Livingston Healthcare
Dr. Alison Harmon: Associate Professor, Foods and Nutrition; Sustainable Food Systems

Buyers’ Panel: Incorporating Healthy, Local Food in Healthcare
Seth Bostick: Executive Chef, Kalispell Regional Medical Center
Emily McKey RD, LD: Dietician, Village Health Care
Wendy Barrett: Certified Dietary Manager, Village Health Care

Producers’ Panel: Partnering with Hospitals to Diversify your Market
Shay Farmer: Food and Ag Coordinator, Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center
Dave Prather: General Manager, Western Montana Growers Cooperative
Jenny Scott: CEO, Montana Highland Lamb



Park County Food System Council Panel and discussion

Tour and presentation of the Livingston Food Resource Center and Community Kitchen hosted by Michael McCormick, Executive Director of the Livingston Food Pantry

Tour and presentation of the Livingston HealthCare Kitchen hosted by Jessica Wilcox, Food and Nutrition Services Manager

Adjourn and depart from Livingston HealthCare

Check out these websites for more information about nationwide Farm to Hospital efforts:
The Healthier Hospitals Initiative
Farm to Hospital resources from Food Hub

Let Us Help You…

Producer Database

Get information about Montana food producers, processors, and distributors who are interested in selling to institutions.

Institution Database

Get information about Montana institutions utilizing local food systems to put food on the table.

The Farm to Cafeteria Manual for Montana is now available!

FTC Montana Manual
We’re excited to announce our new resource, the Farm to Cafeteria Manual for Montana, a how-to for farmers, ranchers, foodservice directors, and community leaders.

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