Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital
Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital is a leader in the rural Vermont community where the hospital wellness program hosts free showings of inspirational films like Forks Over Knives and offers healthy food cooking classes. Under the leadership of CEO Roger Allbee, a former Vermont Secretary of Agriculture who grew up on a farm, there is an organizationally shared belief that good food is good medicine.
Grace Cottage’s efforts to highlight the importance of nutrition has garnered glowing media attention, and it’s no surprise that the hospital ranked in the top 20 critical access hospitals in the United States for patient satisfaction, according to the National Rural Health Association.
Even before the 2017 AMA healthy hospital food policies, Grace Cottage was focused on providing healthy, healing food to patients and guests. After a decision to stop serving soda in the facility (except for ginger ale for patients), hospital leadership also removed soda machines and vending machines. The Dietary Department improved menu choices to ensure that half of the available entrees are vegetarian, and in the cafeteria, guests now start at the salad bar and move on to hot entrees, ensuring space on plates for healthy food and vegetables!
Grace Cottage is a leader in the community, too, increasing local food purchases to 33 percent and collecting tomatoes from local gardeners to be processed at the local community kitchen and distributed through the local food shelf. Hospital staff teach “healthy cooking on a tight budget” classes, and once a month, the Vermont Food Bank truck pulls in to Grace Cottage and unloads roughly seven pallets of fresh produce and other healthy food items. On average, 50-60 individuals take the free food home to their families.
Grace Cottage is a proof that you don’t have to be a big hospital to make a big difference!