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Farms, Food & Health

Connecting the Dots Between Health Care, Wellness, and Locally Grown Food

It's an old saying: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. What if doctors actually wrote prescriptions for patients to eat fruits and vegetables? Imagine hospitals routinely purchasing locally grown food, or using local food as an opportunity to inspire their communities and patients to eat delicious, simple meals for vibrant health. I’m excited to see these types of ideas growing in our region and state.

—Diane Conners, senior policy specialist



Watch for conference registration in June for this year's Culinary Medicine conference, Sept. 22-24, at the Great Lakes Culinary Institute.


We’ve held two conferences  to inspire our region and state to connect the dots between healthcare, wellness and locally grown food. Physicians, nurses and registered dietitians rubbed shoulders with farmers, teachers, anti-poverty advocates, employee wellness officials and hospital and school food service directors. Models shared there inspired action locally. Take a look:


Fruit & veggie prescription

Munson Medical Center attended the conference and launched a fruit and vegetable prescription program in partnership with the Grand Traverse Commons Farmers Market. Munson is supporting efforts throughout the region.



A growing number of local employers are making it convenient for employees to get fruit and vegetable deliveries to their worksites. We support this trend by sharing good models, and work with Taste the Local Difference® to match farms with employers, and explore policies that support local food insurance benefits.



We are organizing an effort with Munson Healthcare, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute and the Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance to develop an exciting program that trains physicians and other healthcare professionals in nutrition, cooking skills, and local resources so they can help their patients.

Inspired by the Farms, Food & Health Conference, Munson partnered with Providence Farm to create a Community Supported Agriculture program to get fresh locally grown food to more than 70 employees.

Watch for conference registration in June.



Health care organizations that are embracing local food strategies with us include Munson Healthcare & Medical Center, ShapeUpNorth, Priority Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, MSU Extension, Michigan Fitness Foundation, Healthy Kids Healthy Michigan, Michigan CSA Working Group, Taste the Local Difference®, Grand Traverse Foodshed Alliance, NMC Great Lakes Culinary Institute, Grow Benzie, Health Department of Northwest Michigan and more.


“One of the slides I saw at the Farm, Food & Health Conference stuck with me: ‘We are fed by the Food Industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the Healthy Industry which pays no attention to food.’ Brilliant. It rings so true in our everyday health care world. It is too easy to rely on medications to fix a health issue rather than emphasize the real, whole and organic foods which nourish our body to repair itself.” —Dr. Pat Friedli, medical director, Munson Healthy Weight Center