The OHSU Food and Nutrition Department supports fair-trade, organic, sustainable, and locally grown products.  What does that mean?

Sustainability is the ability to support the current population's needs without damaging the future generations ability to provide for themselves.  Sustainable processes use renewable resources, which allow the environment and economy to thrive.  The products are often local because excess distribution creates excess waste.  Locally grown foods can also be picked at the optimal ripeness, thus requiring less processing, and contain more nutrients as they are eaten closer to the time of picking. 

There are many ways we, as an institution, can help shift the food system to become more sustainable. As we wisely invest in growers and producers who focus on methods that preserve both human and environmental health, we help grow a system that will ultimately be better for us and our future. These methods include but are not limited to:

  • Growing produce without the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides
  • Raising meat and poultry without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or hormones (not allowed in pork or poultry).
  • Canning without the use of BPA
  • Sourcing local
  • Abiding by Marine Stewardship Certification standards or the "Seafood Watch - Best Choices" standards for seafood.
  • Raising dairy animals without the use of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

We have been working closely with Health Care Without Harm for years to track and support our efforts. Please look at their website for news on this issue and resources.

Summary of sustainable purchases

Food and Nutrition Services strives to increase its procurement of sustainable foods. Here are approximations of our purchasing patterns: 

  • 35% of dairy is rBGH-free
  • 22% of produce either locally sourced or certified organic
  • 18% of poultry is raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics
  • 68% of beef is grass fed & finished and is raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or hormones
  • 99% of lamb & buffalo is locally sourced and grass-finished without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics or hormones 
  • 32% of seafood is either Marine Stewardship certified or sourced from the "Best Choices" list from Seafood Watch

A big issue: What is OHSU doing to preserve antibiotics?

One major issue that is a priority for hospitals across the country is to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics. About 80% of antibiotics (abx) in the US are routinely given to animals that are not sick. The abx are used to protect them from prevalent disease common in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and to promote growth. This overuse is contributing to antibiotic resistant infections in humans. OHSU is committed to protecting the efficacy of antibiotics and keeping our community healthy by increasing our purchasing of meat and poultry raised without the use of these sub-therapeutic antibiotics every year. As the production of this type of meat goes up and cost comes down, we are able to support growers/ranchers that choose not to use abx.  As of now, OHSU is using several products throughout the cafes.

Carmen Ranch Beef, Cascade Natural Beef, and Carlton Farms Pork

Carmen Ranch produces grass-fed & finished beef from the Wallowa Valley, in Oregon. No antibiotics or growth hormones are used. Cory Carmen and her family are the primary ranchers on her land. They have great info on their website about their practices, what makes their beef so special, and their amazing story. Currently about 65% of the beef on the OHSU campus is from Carmen Ranch.  Learn more

Cascade Natural Beef is a brand from SP Provisions, a local distributor. The beef they source is raised without the use of antibiotics. Carlton Farms Pork is distributed through several vendors and sources pork raised without the use of antibiotics and all of their animals are from the Pacific NW.

Here is where you will find Carmen Ranch & Cascade Natural beef and Carlton Farms Pork on campus:

 3rd Floor Marquam Cafe

All hamburgers, beef meatloaf and steak tacos, grill specials including top and bottom round, and the bulk ground beef in a variety of menu items are Carmen Ranch. Beef broth is made from Carmen Ranch cattle bones and is a base of most soups and sauces.

Patient menus

Steak tacos & Philly steak (upon request), hamburgers, meatloaf, sauce bases (use beef broth) and all beef broth, sirloin steaks, and boxed lunch roast beef sandwiches are made from Carmen Ranch beef.

Pacific Foods Organic Chicken and Draper Valley Chicken

Pacific Foods Organic Chicken comes from several farms all within a 100 mile radius of their processing plant in Dayton, Oregon. It is a vertically integrated business, meaning they own the farms, the slaughter house and the processing plant, and can therefore closely monitor all steps of getting their chicken from farm to fork. They don't use antibiotics and are not allowed to use hormones- actually no poultry or pork farms can, according to the law. Draper Valley raises all of their chicken without the use of abx as well. Some of their chicken farms are local.

Learn more about Pacific Foods

Learn more about Draper Valley

Here is where you will find Pacific Foods and Draper Valley Chicken at OHSU:

3rd Floor Marquam Cafe

All of the chicken, except items made with the  5oz frozen breast,  the red pepper chicken, chicken Marsala, Scallopini, Chicken Pot Pie, Dumplings, Kung Pao, and the Curried Chix, and many more dishes are made with Pacific Foods organic chicken.

Patient menus:

All chicken broth and the base of all gravies made from Pacific Foods chicken bones.

Pacific Foods also raises a small amount of organic pork and turkey that is used on the 3rd floor and on the patient menu when available.

It's All Good convenience store

This natural food store on the 9th floor of South Hospital also supports products from sustainable sources. Look for the labels along the shelves!

  • Fair Trade products include items that cannot be found locally (such as coffee, sugar, rice).  They are purchased from a farm whose workers are receiving fair compensation for their hard work.
  • Organic is the USDA certified label that assures the product is:
    • Grown without synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or genetically modified ingredients
    • Minimally processed with NO artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation
    • Animals are raised on organic feed, have access to the outdoors, and are not given antibiotics or hormones

We make efforts to continually improve our contribution to creating a sustainable and thriving business model. Every year, we adopt new products, phase out old and make advancements in processes that lessen our negative impact on the Earth.

Below are some additional resources on sustainability, fair trade, organic products and recipes:

Antibiotics Stewardship White Paper by Health Care Without Harm

Environmental Nutrition White Paper by Health Care Without Harm

Understanding Labels for Meat and Poultry

Organic Consumers Association