Healthy Food at the UVM Medical Center

At The University of Vermont Medical Center, we understand that nutrition and food systems are inextricably linked to the health of our patients and our community. This is reflected in our commitment to serving fresh, locally produced, minimally processed foods, and to partnering with farmers throughout the region to supply healthier food to patients while boosting the local economy.

The Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems

Thanks to the leadership of Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch, we recently established the Center for Nutrition and Healthy Food Systems to educate other healthcare institutions about building a sustainable food service. Our goal is for the Center to be a national role model for healthy and sustainable food systems.

The Center serves as an educational and operational link between health care and our local and regional food system, and includes the following core functions:

  • Serving as a core participant in the New England Leadership team for healthy food systems, which includes healthcare foodservice professionals who are working to improve the health of the regional food system
  • Being a national model for on-site implementation of sustainable food - such as our sustainable seafood policy, rooftop garden, and bee-keeping initiatives
  • Providing an annual, science-based training program and curriculum for medical, dietetic and nursing professionals regarding food systems health and nutrition
  • On-site implementation and research of food policy changes and initiatives
  • Partnerships with local food producers
  • Community-based education and research, geared toward enhancing the general public's understanding of healthy food systems

Center Activities

  • Winter Workshops at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, VT - The Center brought together healthcare foodservice professionals, farmers, farm-to-school experts, food safety professionals, CSA (community supported agriculture) managers, non-profit directors, and food marketing coordinators to discuss growing and supporting our local food system.
  • Culinary Training - In some hospitals and schools around the state, a lack of skilled food professionals poses a barrier to using fresh and local foods.  The Center sponsored two day-long culinary trainings this past summer specifically designed to reduce this barrier and to bring more fresh food into these organizations.
  • Leader Workshop - Healthy Food in Health Care - We recently hosted an on-site conference for nutrition and other medical professionals from across the country.  The mission of the workshop was to inspire others to adopt model sustainable food practices in their organizations and provided a toolkit for them to do it.
  • Gloucester, MA Seafood Visit - This visit was intended to expose and teach health care providers about a more sustainable fishing methodology. The desired outcome is that hospitals are initiating a more local, seasonal fish and seafood menu for their organizations.

Contact

For more information about the Center and upcoming activities, please contact:

Diane Imrie
Director of Nutrition Services, The UVM Medical Center
Diane.Imrie@uvmhealth.org
802-847-3642

Sustainable Nutrition

The University of Vermont Medical Center aims to have the most sustainable healthcare food service in the country. In 2006, we were one of the first organizations in the nation to sign Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge to improve the health of patients, customers, and the community by providing fresh, local and sustainable food.

Our patients and visitors now enjoy nutritionally dense, minimally processed foods including a variety of locally produced fruits, vegetables, and meats. Fried foods have been removed from our menus. Here are some key initiatives and projects that have been spurred by the Pledge:

  • Room Service at the UVM Medical Center - Instead of delivering trays with the same meals at the same time regardless of patient preferences or schedules, the UVM Medical Center allows patients to order what they want when they want it. This significantly reduces food waste and improves the care experience for our patients and families. This service is winning "four-star reviews" from patients and has been recognized in the national media. See our room service menu.
  • Harvest Cafe  
  • Harvest Cafe - Our main cafeteria for visitors and employees serves fresh, organic ingredients, locally-raised beef, a line of chicken and turkey raised without non-therapeutic antibiotics, and many vegetarian choices. Foods are cooked to order, resulting in less food waste. The cafe also features a "free cooling" refrigeration system that uses outdoor cold air during the winter to provide the chilling required. This energy-efficient "Freeaire" system is the first of its kind in any Vermont hospital.
  • Growing our Own - Over the past few years, patients and visitors have been enjoying food grown on- site by members of our nutrition services department. A healing garden provides fresh herbs and vegetables, and a rooftop garden on our new radiation oncology facility is adding to that bounty. In addition, one of our nutrition workers became a beekeeper allowing us to serve 300 pounds of honey produced from hives on the grounds of one of our satellite locations.

  • Vermont Fresh Network - The UVM Medical Center is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network, a non-profit organization which encourages farmers, food producers, and chefs to build partnerships that contribute to stronger local communities and economies. Connections made through the Network have resulted in the UVM Medical Center buying many local products, such as maple syrup, cheese, rBST-free milk, grass-fed beef, and a variety of local organic vegetables — supporting our Food and Farm Partnerships and their products every day. We're also working with agricultural leaders from around the state to build a food system in Vermont that will increase access to local foods.

Vermont-Area Food Producers

Our UVM Medical Center partners share our environmental responsibility commitment and work with us toward achieving our goal of being the greenest healthcare organization in the country.

Bee Happy, Starksboro Green Mountain Farms, Enosburg Falls Shelburne Farms, Shelburne
Benito's Hot Sauce, Winooski  HP Hood, Burlington Snowflake Chocolates, Jericho
Black River Produce, North Springfield  Intervale Center, Burlington Sonia Salsa, Jericho
Blue Heron Farm, Grand Isle Island Ice Cream Grand Isle Speeder and Earl’s, Burlington
Blythedale Farm, Corinth Jericho Settler’s Farm, Jericho Spring Brook Farm, Reading
Boutin Family Farm, Williston Kimball Brook Farm, Ferrisburg  St. Hilaire Family Farm, Milton
Boyden Farms, Cambridge Kingdom Creamery, Hardwick  Stonewood Farm, Orwell 
Bruegger’s Bagels, Burlington Koffee Kup Bakeries, Burlington Stoneyfield Farm Manchester, NH 
Burnt Rock Farm, Burlington  Klinger’s Bakery, South Burlington Taylor Farm, Londonderry
Butterworks Farm, Westfield Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlington UVM Medical Center Gardens and Apiary, Burlington & Colchester 
Cabot Cheese Co, Montpelier Lalumiere Farm, Ferrisburg Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, Websterville
Castleton Crackers, Castleton  Laughing Moon Chocolates, Stowe Vermont Fresh Pasta, Proctorsville
Champlain Orchards, Shoreham Lewis Creek Farm, Starksboro Vermont Smoke and Cure, Hinesburg
Comeau Family Sugarhouse, Williston  Maplebrook Farms, Bennington Vermont Soy Co., Hardwick
Crawford Family Farm, Whiting Mazza's Farm, Colchester Vermont Village Applesauce, Barre
Farm House Kitchen, Burlington  Pete’s Greens, Craftsbury Westminster Crackers, Rutland
Fat Toad Farm, Brookfield Pitchfork Farms, Burlington West Meadow Farm Bakery, Essex Junction
Full Sun Company, Middlebury Red Kite Candy, Bradford Wholesome Cravings, Charlotte
Grafton Village Cheese Company,Grafton Red Wagon Plants, Hinesburg Wilcox Ice Cream, Manchester 
Great Harvest Bread Company, Burlington  Rockville Market Farm, Starksboro Yolo Snacks Hinesburg
Kurig Green Mountain, Waterbury Savage Gardens, North Hero  
Green Mountain Creamery, Brattleboro Screamin' Ridge Farm, Barre