Institute for a Sustainable Future
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Key Initiatives

Commons Health
Commons Health is a systems oriented place-baced health creation framework providing tools and allowing us to imagine how we might help in the great transition to sustainable and resilient people, places and planet. Visit the Commons Health site and join the conversation by visiting

Climate and Food

The food system accounts for just under one third of global climate emissions.  Through a shift to healthy dietary patterns,  good food strategies and  through commons based approaches to climate mitigation we can achieve multiple-benefits. See our publication Common Drivers Commons Solutions and more.

Anchor Institutions, Food Hubs and Bioregionality

Hospitals and Educational Institutions are key anchor institutions, place-based organizations firmly established in their communities. There is a growing recognition about the responsibility and benefit of linking their economic activity to the socio-economic health of the communities in which they are anchored.

Across the US, communities are exploring ways of rebuilding local and regional food systems to meet the multiple ecological, health and community problems associated with our present industrial food system. The role of anchor institutions — large community based universities and healthcare institutions — and their relationship to their communities and the local food system needs to change...more


Healthy and Local Food Systems for more

ISF is a nationally recognized leader in supporting local, sustainable food systems. ISF's work has been recognized through a MN governors awards, national Thought Leader award, a host of peer reviewed publications and more. ISF recognizes that a healthy and sustainable food system is characterized by the following attributes: 

  • Proximate
  • Healthy as part of a balanced diet
  • Fairly traded
  • Non Exploitive
  • Environmentally Beneficial Accessible both in terms of geographic access and affordability
  • High animal-welfare standards
  • Socially inclusive
  • Encouraging food knowledge and culture


Toxic Chemicals and Endocrine Disruption

ISF is nationally recognized as a leader in mercury pollution prevention and toxics issues. ISF successfully coordinated a national campaign to virtually eliminate the sale of mercury thermometers in United States, provided acclaimed educational tools for the healthcare industry and assisted in the development and passage of first in the nation mercury legislation in Duluth, and across the United States. ISF has consulted for the Chinese EPA on mercury elimination, and works with the UNEP, WHO and HCWH on mercury elimination around the globe...more

St. Lukes CEO Signs Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge