Joel Salatin, Well-Known Farmer, Brings His Sustainable Food Message to the Hospital
February 15, 2011
Joel Salatin gained fame as a passionate advocate for sustainable food and farming in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and then in the movie Food Inc. In January, Salatin paid a visit to Kaiser Permanente’s Oakland Medical Center, where he toured the weekly farmers market and spoke to physicians, staff and other leaders in the sustainable food movement about the links between health, local food and sustainable agriculture.
Salatin, who raises pastured beef, pork and poultry at his Polyface family farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, spoke of the challenges small producers face when trying to sell their goods to large institutions. He urged the audience to shop at their local farmers markets, buy unprocessed food whenever possible, and get back into their kitchens to cook for themselves and their families. And he stressed that health care should be at the forefront of the movement to improve the nation’s food system.
“The idea of bringing local food right into the façade of a hospital — there couldn’t be a better match,” Salatin said. “The idea is fabulous.”
Preston Maring, MD, assistant physician-in-chief at Oakland Medical Center and the founder of Kaiser Permanente’s first farmers market, invited Salatin to the hospital so he and others could tap into Salatin’s expertise on bringing healthy food to more people.
“Joel Salatin has figured out how to create the kind of food production that’s not just good for the people who eat it, but also for the earth and for the people that grow it,” Maring said.
Salatin’s visit follows Kaiser Permanente’s “Food for Health Forum,” an event that took place in San Francisco on Oct. 16, 2010, bringing together physicians, health care leaders and sustainable food experts from around the country to galvanize a healthy food movement within health care. The conference featured talks by Michael Pollan and Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook.
Kaiser Permanente has long focused on healthy food for good health. The organization now has more than 35 farmers markets in four states and also strives to provide locally grown produce for hospital meals. Kaiser Permanente is now serving local produce for patient meals at 21 Northern California Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and the Kaiser Permanente Post Acute Care Center in San Leandro, Calif., and patient meals and cafeterias at four medical facilities in Southern California.
- Polyface Family Farm
- Dr. Maring’s Farmers’ Market and Recipe Update
- EatingWell in Season: The Farmers’ Market Cookbook, (Countryman Press, 2009)
- Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Helps Brighten the New Year for Many Maui Families with ‘Fresh for All Program’, 1/11
- Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Plants Seeds for Healthy Future, 1/11
- Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Supports Establishment of Fresh Produce Exchange Program in Partnership with Kohala Center, 12/10
- Kaiser Permanente Hosts ‘Food For Health Forum’ Featuring Sustainable Food Experts and Innovators, 10/10
- Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Preston Maring Featured in New York Times Profile, 9/10
- Kaiser Permanente Is Represented at the Inaugural Sowing Seeds Here and Now!: A Chesapeake Urban Farming Summit, 6/10
- Denver Botanic Gardens and Kaiser Permanente Plant Seeds for Healthy Eating, 5/10
- Sustainable Food: A Conversation with Jamie Harvie — Executive Director, Institute for a Sustainable Future, (pdf) The Permanente Journal, Spring 2010
- Kaiser Permanente Bolsters Access to Healthy, Nutritious Food in Hard Times, 12/09
- Where’s the Tomato? Mapping Your Fresh, Locally Grown Produce With Kaiser Permanente, 8/09
- Kaiser Permanente to Provide Calorie, Nutrition Information on Cafeteria Menus, 7/09
- Kaiser Permanente Physician Celebrated for Contributions to Locally Grown Food Movement, 4/09