For many years, the Institute and its parent organization, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, have actively promoted access to healthy and sustainable food in our parks. This Food for the Parks movement, aimed at making healthy and sustainable foods more readily available in parks, has led to the development of new seasonal menus and local partnerships with food vendors at the Beach Hut and Warming Hut in the Golden Gate National Parks.
The Institute also has designed several tools and resources to empower park leaders and concessioners to make a shift toward more sustainable food service. Download our report Food for the Parks: Case Studies of Sustainable Food in America's Most Treasured Places to explore best practices in healthy food service from across the nation.
The first set of healthy and sustainable food requirements for a national park concession was developed for Muir Woods Café, and was guided by Golden Gate National Parks leadership and Bay Area food experts. Today, Muir Woods Café serves as a national model for local and organic food sourcing, sustainable packaging, waste management, customer education, and visitor engagement. The Institute has highlighted Muir Woods Café’s success to help inspire new food policy for the entire national park system.
With new standards in place for healthy and sustainable food service for all national parks, the next stage is implementation. The Institute recognizes the regional challenges of sourcing sustainable foods and providing healthy food choices in parks. To address this challenge, the Institute has collaborated with the National Park Service to create regional cost analysis tools and a healthy food toolkit to assist park leaders and concessions management in cost-effective decisions for healthy and sustainable food service at scale.
Download Food for the Parks: A Roadmap to Success to access a helpful toolkit offering strategies and ideas to inspire new healthy, fresh, and sustainable food programs in parks and other institutions across the country. Also, view the Institute’s Google Earth Healthy Food Connections Map featuring national park concessions and their proximity to regional food hubs.
The Institute partnered with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to host the first national Summit on Sustainable Food Service in Tarrytown, New York. At the summit, over 75 food industry leaders from parks, hospitals, school systems, airports, and retail outlets convened to collaborate and co-create a healthier national food system. The Institute continues to facilitate cross-sector collaboration at a national level, as we believe parks can play a catalytic role in the national sustainable food movement.