Twin Cities hospitals help anchor local food movement

October 23, 2014
Stonesthrowurbanfarm.com

The seven medical facilities and nine colleges in the Central Corridor between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis are anchor institutions that spend more than $25 million annually on food.

Giving small companies even a small portion of this $25 million business, it would boost their success and the vitality of the communities, according to an article on the Minneapolis Post website.

Most medical centers and colleges throughout the 11-mile Central Corridor have come together under the banner of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) to broaden their collective impact by purchasing more local goods and services, hiring more local people and pursuing other initiatives to strengthen their communities.

“Colleges and hospitals are embedded in their community and have a real stake in seeing that it thrives,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow, who is chair of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership. “This is not just what we give to the community, it’s about our shared interests and mutual benefits.”

One of the most ambitious anchor initiatives is in Cleveland, where three new worker-owned cooperatives on the city’s struggling East Side provide services to nearby institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals:

• The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, which washes more than 10 million pounds of sheets and towels yearly for local hospitals 

• Ohio Cooperative Solar, which installs solar panels on institutional, commercial and government buildings as well as offering free weatherization programs for low-income residents

• Green City Growers Cooperative, a 3.25-acre greenhouse growing hydroponic lettuce and basil year-round for hospital and college kitchens

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