Institute for a Sustainable Future
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Academic and community-focused ISF publications on health care, obesity, food systems, research. Please contact us with any questions at info[at]


The Next Health System

Summary: “The health and well-being of individuals is inseparable from nature and inseparable from the health of a community.” Created with The Next System Project, this paper offers a holistic vision and compelling path forward by encouraging us to see the interconnectedness across systems and to think past a siloed mindset. "To fully reflect the needs and values of the community, health care requires a restructuring and “democratization” of health care and health.

Publication: The Next System Project, a Democracy Collaborative Project


Time to Return to the Whole

Summary: Only by finding a new narrative that embraces the whole, rather than the parts, can we build the health-creating systems we need. 

Publication: Stanford Social Innovation Review


A 20% by 2020 Local Purchasing Toolkit - A Report to Support Local Food Purchasing  to Return to the Whole

Summary: This report includes the first regional directory of producers currently supplying the largest institutions and restaurants in our region.

Publication: ISF Reporting 


Mapping Duluth Grill Local Sustainable Food Purchasing: A 2011 Baseline Assessment 

Summary: Written by Kelly Erb, this case study details criteria and assessment process used to determine the percentage purchasing by the Duluth Grill, a sustainable food restaurant based in Duluth, MN that signed the Superior Compact, a 20% local food purchasing goal by 2020. 

Publication: ISF Reporting


The Case for Commons Healthcare

Summary: Clearly, we need a new model. The primary purpose of this paper is to offer a new lens on seemingly disparate issues, to accelerate the development of a community-driven, multi-benefit framework—“Commons Healthcare”—to solve the problems in our health, food, and climate systems, and to demonstrate that such an approach to public health is imperative.

Publication: EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing


Common Drivers Common Solutions: Chronic Disease, Climate Change, Nutrition and Agriculture 

Summary: Written by Jamie Harvie, Ted Schettler, Leslie Mikkelsen, and Cornelia Flora, this white paper explores the common drivers of climate change and chronic disease and offers solutions for the health care sector.

Publication: ISF Reporting, prepared by a Food Systems and Public Health Conference Work Team funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 


Implementing Healthy and Sustainable Food Practices in a Hospital Cafeteria: A Qualitative Look at Processes, Barriers, and Facilitators of Implementation

Summary: The purpose of this study was to examine (through a collection of in-depth qualitative information) the processes associated with the selection, purchasing, and pricing of healthy and sustainably produced food within a hospital system and to gain further insight into how the hospital culture facilitates and/or hinders these processes. Research was conducted at a major medical system in Duluth, Minnesota.

Publication: Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition (Dauner K. N., Lacaille, L.J., Schultz J.F., Harvie J., et al.)


A New Healthcare Prevention Agenda: Sustainable Food Procurement and Agricultural Policy

Summary: Health care leaders are now beginning to play a decisive role in advancing a food system that is healthy for patients, communities, and the planet. Moreover, these leaders recognize that ultimately, such a system is imperative for human, community, and global health. The question remains whether we will act with appropriate urgency.

Publication: Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition (Harvie J, Mikkelsen L, Shak L.)


Sustainable Food: A Conversation with Jamie Harvie—Executive Director, Institute for a Sustainable Future

Summary: Brian Raymond, MPH interviews Jamie about his work including the Health Care Without Harm's Healthy Food in Health Care Initiative and the concept of “sustainable” food,

Publication: The Permanente Journal


Redefining Healthy Food: An Ecological Health Approach to Food Production, Distribution, and Procurement.

Summary: This report provides context to help readers understand the complex, interconnected factors underpinning the obesity crisis and aim to provide us an opportunity to restore control over situations that have pervasively influenced the health of humans and our environment. 

Publication: The Center for Health Design, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Highlighted book contributions:


Integrative Medicine, 2nd ed. by David Rakel, MD, Elsevier Press 

Sudak, N.; Harvie J. (2007) Reducing Toxic Exposures

Harvie, J. (2007) Creating a Green Clinic: Reducing Toxic Exposures


Summary:  Dr. David Rakel’s Integrative Medicine is a highly regarded, evidence-based textbook that covers therapies such as botanicals, supplements, mind-body, lifestyle choices, nutrition, exercise, spirituality, and more. Now in its fourth edition, the textbook uses a clinical, disease-oriented approach, offering practical guidance for reducing costs and improving patient care. 

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