BNMC Receives USDA Grant to Enhance Local Food Procurement Efforts in Health Care

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BNMC Receives USDA Grant to Enhance Local Food Procurement Efforts in Health Care

Three-Year, $351K Grant Prioritizes Local Agriculture from New York State

Buffalo, NY – October 1, 2018 – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) has received a $260,325 grant to create a model for health care institutions to integrate technology and cultivate a culture of healthy food practices to increase local food procurement. The grant includes a local match of $91,063 bringing the project total to $351,388. The BNMC is one of 44 organizations around the country, and one of only 4 organizations to receive funding in New York State,  through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) during this grant cycle.

“Increasing access to local foods, especially in a place with such robust agriculture and other locally-sourced food, is good for the health of our people and good for the health of our economy,” said Jonathan McNeice, project director for the grant and director of healthy communities efforts for the BNMC.  “Supporting local food procurement is part of our overall effort to continue to create a culture of health and wellbeing both on the BNMC and throughout our region.”

This grant builds upon the more than $2M in public and private funding that the BNMC and its community partners have secured over the past fifteen years to support healthy eating, healthy worksites, and active living policies and programs in Western New York.

BNMC’s Farm-to-Hospital Initiative began in 2015 with a $25,000 grant from the USDA Local Food Promotion Program to assess feasibility for sourcing local food on the Medical Campus. The process included identifying champions inside each organization, providing learning opportunities, gathering data, engaging suppliers, partnering with experts in the field, and creating a foundational plan for future implementation. This project will now shift to an implementation phase and seek to work with food service providers, hospital staff, and farmers dedicated to this initiative and partner closely with Health Care Without Harm to implement a local model on the BNMC. Health Care without Harm is an international group dedicated to transforming health care worldwide to reduce its environmental footprint and become a leader in sustainability, environmental health, and justice.

“BNMC Fresh: Farm to Hospital Implementation” will create a model that prioritizes local agriculture from New York State, enabling farms to access new markets (hospitals), and can be replicated across the state. The initiative aims to establish enhanced food chain transparency from farmers to distributors to institutions; as well as implement customized crop plans in both hospitals that merge New York State’s top crops with institutional demand.

This collaborative work is expected to create a culture that embraces local farms through prioritizing local procurement; establishes and expands community supported agriculture (CSA) and farmers’ market programs; establishes food chain transparency; increases awareness and knowledge among consumers of local food procurement efforts; and provides knowledge and skill-building opportunities to agribusiness stakeholders (farmers, distributor, food service teams). This project ultimately aims to make local procurement a regular practice and culture among health care institutions.

“Roswell Park has been thrilled to partner with the BNMC on both the planning grant and the upcoming implementation grant,” said Christina Dibble, director of nutrition and food services at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Given the unique needs of cancer patients, we’ve made it a priority to provide seasonal, local foods for our patients, visitors, and employees when available, and we look forward to expanding our local offerings through channels that this grant opens up for us.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $102.7 million to increase opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and other growers across the country through five grant programs. The funding supports a variety of locally-led projects intended to expand markets for local food promotion and specialty crops. Of that total, $13.45 million is directed to 44 projects, including the BNMC’s, to support the development and expansion of local and regional food businesses to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).

 About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

 The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) is a multi-anchor social enterprise focused on driving innovation in partnership with our community. As the non-profit charged with addressing shared issues among our member institutions, the BNMC plays a significant role in driving positive change that builds a vibrant, innovative environment. We focus on improving infrastructure, managing our transportation system, creating a culture of health and wellbeing, driving innovation, and working with our partners to continue to build an innovative district that reflects the best of our community.

BNMC partners travel to Vermont to learn about its farm-to-hospitals efforts.