Connecting Organic with Hospitals

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Event Date
October 10, 2016

Join the CCOF Foundation for a webinar on how organic producers can connect with the hospital market.

Hospitals are beginning to source more organic food for their patients. How can organic producers tap into the hospital market? Learn different approaches to entering the market and key considerations involved when selling to health institutions. Hear from a farmer, a hospital administrator, and a local-food procurement specialist, all involved with successful farm-to-hospital marketing programs.

In California and throughout the country, hospitals are setting goals to purchase more organic and locally-produced food through their food service systems. This webinar will explore different approaches to selling organic products in the hospital supply chain, and will highlight special considerations organic producers should take into account when selling to hospitals. Learn from farmer Robert McClendon, who collaborated with Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix, Arizona, to develop the first organic farm in conjunction with a hospital. Ben Thomas, procurement specialist with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), will share his expertise gained through connecting local and organic growers to hospitals in Northern California. Kaiser Permanente’s sustainable food program manager Kathleen Reed will present from the hospital’s point of view, detailing how organic producers can connect with healthcare institutions through sustainable food sourcing initiatives and farmers’ market programs. Time will be reserved for questions from webinar participants.

About Our Speakers

Robert McClendon is the owner of McClendon's Select, a family-run, CCOF- certified organic farm located in Peoria and Phoenix, Arizona. Three generations of the McClendon family manage a total 93 acres of organic land. They grow over 100 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables, along with dates, honey, and citrus. Through their partnership with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), McClendon's Select developed the first organic farm in conjunction with a hospital. The McClendon family grows on 68 acres of the CTCA hospital campus in Phoenix, Arizona to provide produce for the hospital and other customers. McClendon’s Select also markets their products at farmers' markets in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as award-winning restaurants throughout Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Sedona, Arizona.

Ben Thomas serves as a procurement specialist at Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), a non-profit based in Northern California. Thomas provides technical assistance to farmers selling their products to hospitals and schools, and works with institutional food service buyers to engage guests with local food and food systems. Thomas has worked with college and university sustainable food procurement and education since 2009, and joined CAFF after managing the sustainable food service program in the University of California, Davis dining services department. He currently works directly with six hospitals in the Bay Area and Sacramento regions of California to source more fruits and vegetables from local family farms.

Kathleen Reed has served as Kaiser Permanente’s (KP) sustainable food program manager since 2008. Reed designs and implements systems to manage and expand KP’s national food programs, including sustainable food sourcing initiatives, farmers’ markets, the Healthy Picks Program, and KP’s food-related environmental initiatives. Reed leads KP’s effort to increase the organization’s purchasing of sustainable food, which now includes beef and chicken from animals raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Reed also serves as KP’s national farmers’ market coordinator, supporting the success of more than 50 farmers’ markets and farm stands at KP facilities in five states. An avid organic gardener, farmers’ market enthusiast and cook, with a passion for foraging and preserving urban fruit, Reed has an extensive background in sustainable agriculture and food systems, and holds two Master of Science degrees from the University of California, Davis in international agricultural development and in soils and biogeochemistry.