Inaugural award emphasizes buying food from local sources

Published: Oct. 22, 2018

LANSING, MI – Sparrow Hospital has received an inaugural Cultivate Michigan award for its efforts to purchase food grown locally for its menu for Patients and Visitors.

Sparrow is among four organizations given the first awards by Cultivate Michigan, a statewide local food purchasing campaign that helps farm-to-institution programs grow. Sparrow was honored for purchasing 5 percent of its food from local sources. The awards were presented today at the Michigan Good Food Summit in East Lansing.

“We have come a long way in the past couple of years,” said Michele Nikolai, Sparrow Clinical Nutrition Manager and who manages the Cultivate Michigan account. “This has been accomplished by working with our main distributors to provide us with local purchasing options, and adding new Michigan-based vendors and distributors.”

Local food purchasing is part of Sparrow Hospital’s many healthy food initiatives for Patients, Caregivers and community members, with partners ranging from Lansing-based Allen Neighborhood Center and Greater Lansing Food Bank to the statewide Michigan State University Extension and Michigan Health and Hospital Association and the global Health Care Without Harm.

“When we launched Cultivate Michigan in 2014, we knew of many institutions purchasing local foods and expanding those efforts each year,” said Colleen Matts, Farm to Institution Specialist at the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and coordinator of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network, which manages Cultivate Michigan.

“We are so happy to recognize these exceptional professionals for their ongoing, honorable work to purchase and serve local foods and for going the extra mile to track their institution’s contribution to the Michigan economy.”'

Michigan institutions participating in the Cultivate Michigan campaign reported spending over $4 million on Michigan-grown or Michigan-produced foods from January 2014 to January 2018, according to a recent brief published by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems. To date, 67 organizations have joined the campaign.

Other honorees today, were Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Friendship Centers of Emmet County, and Grand Haven Public Schools.

For more information on Sparrow’s food and nutrition services, go to

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