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South County Hospital Wins the Local Food Challenge

Rhode Island Health Care Local Food Challenge participant, Roger Williams Medical Center celebrated Earth Day 2016 with a local foods celebration in their cafeteriaHealth Care Without Harm congratulates South County Hospital for winning the Rhode Island Health Care Local Food Challenge.  South County outperformed their competitors in local food purchasing, education, and employee engagement, and has won $1000 in honor of their great efforts. “At South County we make every effort to provide a comfortable and healing environment for our patient, staff, and visitors, and the food we serve is a big part of that”, said Meghan Keenan, Director of Food and Nutrition.  “We also recognize our role in the community to support our local economy and our local food producers, and that a strong local food economy means a healthier community overall”.

Five Rhode Island hospitals competed in the Local Food Challenge in addition to South County, including Bradley Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Newport Hospital, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, and Roger Williams Medical Center. “All of the hospitals in the Challenge deserve congratulations”, said John Stoddard, Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm. “Each participant went the extra mile to purchase local foods and educate about local foods in their facilities.” 

The Local Food Challenge began in May 2015 and concluded in September 2016 with a Seafood Throwdown at the Rhode Island Seafood Festival in Providence.  Participants competed throughout the year in the areas of purchasing, education, and employee engagement around local foods.  Through the Challenge, participants collectively spent over $314,000 on local foods, held 17 educational events, and 251 employees were given access to local foods through Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s Veggie Box program.  Congratulations to South County and all the participants for their work.  Our farmers, fishers, and the whole community thanks you! 

Health Care Without Harm administered the Challenge through a LASA grant, while utilizing the support of our partners, Farm Fresh Rhode IslandNorthern Rhode Island Area Health Education Center and The Hospital Association of Rhode Island (HARI).


John Stoddard is a Healthy Food in Health Care Coordinator for the global non-profit organization, Health Care Without Harm. He works throughout New England on facilitating local and sustainable food procurement for health care institutions, with a specific focus on Connecticut and Rhode Island.