Jamie Harvie, HCWH, NRDC Thought Leader

Contact: Jamie Harview, 218-525-7806 harvie@isfusa.org
Eileen Secrest, 866-998-0007 esecrest@hcwh.org

Jamie Harvie, Founding Member of Health Care without Harm, Named 2009 “Thought Leader” by National Resources Defense Council

Honored for Work in Sustainable Food in Healthcare

Jamie Harvie, founding member of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), and director of the Institute for a Sustainable Future, has been named a “Thought Leader” by the National Resources Defense Fund (NRDC). The honor was bestowed as one of the inaugural NRDC Growing Green Awards. Harvie was honored for his work on sustainable food production and especially for his work in sustainable food in healthcare.

“How we produce and distribute food has a profound impact on ecological health, and by obvious extension, human health,” stated Harvie. “As places of healing, hospitals have a natural incentive to provide food that is healthy for people and the environment in which they live. But they must go further. They must use their purchasing power to move markets, their moral authority to garner support, and their voices to effect a change in procurement policies.”

An independent panel of sustainable food experts selected the award winners from a pool of 140 impressive candidates that included diverse growers, entrepreneurs and business leaders across the country. In a statement announcing the awards, NRDC said, “Harvie has helped catalyze a national campaign to encourage the inclusion of social and environmental awareness in hospital food service.” Harvie is the co-chair of HCWH’s Food Work Group. More than 200 hospitals around the country have signed Health Care Without Harm’s “Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge,” most recently by the Cleveland Clinic and Boston Medical Center.

Hospitals signing the pledge agree to work to increase the availability of locally-sourced food, encourage vendors to supply pesticide-, hormone- and antibiotic-free foods; implement a step-wise sustainable foods programs; ask Group Purchasing Organizations to supply local, certified foods; educate the community about nutritious, socially just, and ecologically sustainable healthy food practices; minimize food waste; support ecologically sound packaging; and promote and source from producers and processors supplies that uphold the dignity of family, farmers, workers and their communities and that support sustainable and humane agricultural systems. While this seems a large undertaking, many hospitals and health care facilities are making tremendous strides in meeting all of the pledge elements.

“What if around the globe hospitals and clinics became recognized in their communities for providing some of the most affordable, nutritious, tasty, local and sustainably produced food,” said Harvie. “What if these same hospitals and clinics provided clean drinking water and hosted farmers markets and became a community gathering point? Perhaps then we could say we have truly developed a global health care system based in primary prevention.”

Harvie and other Growing Green Award winners were honored at NRDC’s 2009 benefit, “Food for Thought,” an event that also honored Michael Pollan for his contributions to the field of sustainable food. The event took place at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences on May 9.

“Health Care Without Harm is very proud to have Jamie working with us,” stated Anna Gilmore Hall, co-executive director of HCWH. “He is an invaluable resource and committed to sustainable food production, one of our fastest growing and most successful initiatives. Jamie also led the organization’s highly successful global effort to eradicate the use of mercury in health care and is an invaluable member of the international sustainable health care community.”

ISF is a not-for-profit organization working to support and improve ecological health, through advocacy, research and education. ISF works to build, support and replicate models of success. Consistent with its ecological approach, ISF engages in campaigns which foster relationships and collaboration. ISF recognizes science and the arts as equally important in building a healthy, sustainable world. www.isfusa.org

HCWH is an international coalition of more than 430 organizations in 52 countries, working to transform the health care industry worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it is ecologically sustainable and no longer a source of harm to public health and the environment. For more information on the rBGH and the role of healthcare see http://www.noharm.org/us/food/resources#rbgh.

HCWH has an ambitious healthy food agenda, which includes buying fresh food locally and/or buying certified organic food; avoiding food raised with growth hormones and antibiotics; encouraging group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to support healthy food in healthcare; supporting local farmers and farming organizations; introducing farmers markets and on-site food box programs; reducing food waste; and establishing an overarching food policy at each health facility. More than 200 hospitals have signed the HCWH “Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge.” Signers pledge to work toward developing sustainable food systems in their facilities. To learn more about HCWH’s work on food and other issues related to health care www.healthyfoodinhealthcare.org.

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