"Local Food is Healthy Food" Essentia Health will buy 20 Percent of Food Locally

By KBJR News 1

March 8, 2013 Updated Mar 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM)

"Local food is healthy food" is Essentia Health's motto.

With that in mind Essentia of Duluth has pledged to buy 20 percent of its food from local growers by 2020.

The Superior Compact has a goal of increasing food production over the next several years.

Essentia Health joins Duluth Grill, Zeitgeist Arts Café and other institutions in the pledge.

Essentia is the first health care system to make this commitment.
Essentia Health has been working with the Duluth Food Hub for two years trying to obtain more sustainable food for their institution.

The Compact formalizes the agreement with the Food Hub and area farmers.

John Vidmar, Director of Nutrition Services for Essentia Health, is excited about making the venture official.

"We are delighted to sign the compact as well as support our local businesses, local farmers, I know they're quite excited about that too.
We're trying to keep that money inside our community, but also bringing healthier foods to our patients and our customers is our goal."

Farmers working with Essentia will be planting 22 percent more seeds then last year.

Essentia plans to offer customers and patients a full variety of seasonal vegetables.

Essentia Health will be meeting with Farmers this week to begin planting for the upcoming year.