Minnesota hospital commits to increasing local purchasing

Essentia Health vows to buy 20% of its food locally by 2020.

March 18—Essentia Health, a major hospital and clinic system based in Duluth, Minn., has committed to buying 20 percent of its food locally by 2020.

Essentia operates 18 hospitals in a four-state region, and it joins the smaller St. Lukes Hospital in the local-food goal.

A steady and growing demand for local food will encourage small producers to expand, said Jamie Harvie, executive director of the Institute for a Sustainable Future, a nonprofit that encourages businesses to buy food locally.