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Central Florida Health

4Roots joins partners to establish Culinary Health Institute

Will Study and Teach the Positive Impacts of Good Nutrition on Health


In furthering its mission to build a healthier community by improving food quality and access, 4Roots announced today the establishment of the Culinary Health Institute (CHI) on its Farm Campus in the Orlando Packing District.

In collaboration with founding partners AdventHealth, Florida Blue Foundation, and Gordon Food Service, CHI strives to understand how different growing methods impact nutrient quality and how consuming high-nutrient-quality foods can impact chronic illness. 

“The CHI is an innovative extension of 4Roots that creates the opportunity to conduct research and measure the impact of nutrition on health from the germination of seeds to the tracking of clinical outcomes,” said 4Roots Founder and CEO, John Rivers. “We’re fortunate to have partners that not only share our belief in the symmetry between food and medicine but also the desire to drive awareness in the vital role food and diet plays in our health.” 

 “We recognize the significant impact that nutrition and access to healthy food have on overall health outcomes,” said Susan Towler, Executive Director of the Florida Blue Foundation. “By partnering with 4Roots and supporting their Culinary Health Institute, we can work together to strengthen food security and help people live their healthiest lives.”

4Roots Chief Medical Officer Monica Aggarwal, MD, an adjunct Associate Professor in the University of Florida’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, will lead research and clinical initiatives for CHI in five areas of focus:

  • Community Kitchen – classes designed to educate both physicians and communities on preparing delicious and nutritious meals
  • Lifestyle Interventions – community engagement with various lifestyle interventions such as yoga, culinary education, and resilience training  
  • Medically Tailored Meals – a pilot program to deliver healthy, disease-specific meals to outpatients and measure outcomes
  • Medical Education – in-depth culinary education designed for medical students and physicians to teach impact and practical skills of healthy eating
  • Growing Methods – an evaluation of diverse cultivating techniques to determine how the different techniques contribute to the nutritional profile and quality of the food

“In collaboration with medical schools, we are educating the next generation of doctors and allied health professionals on the impact of whole-food, plant-forward diets and the importance of other lifestyle changes to heal the body,” said Aggarwal. 

“Good nutrition is vital to living a healthy life and dramatically reducing or avoiding chronic disease. AdventHealth is proud to support the 4Roots Culinary Health Institute and its mission to research and educate about the health benefits of a whole-food, plant-forward diet,” said Doug Harcombe, CEO of AdventHealth Central Florida’s South Market.

"Guided by a sense of stewardship, coupled with knowledge of the food industry supply chain, we recognize there is a need to bring nourishing food to help people achieve wellness. Our investment in the Culinary Health Institute is one meaningful way Gordon Food Service hopes to advance Food is Medicine from concept to everyday reality for the millions of Americans with chronic health conditions,” said Rich Wolowski, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gordon Food Service.

The 5,300 sq ft. building that will house CHI is part of Phase II of the 4Roots Farm Campus.  For more information on the 4Roots Farm Campus, visit https://4rootsfarm.org/

About 4Roots

4Roots is dedicated to unearthing the power of food to build healthy communities. By engaging the community to think more deeply about where and how food is grown and why it matters, 4Roots aims to restore and maintain the delicate balance between people and the planet. The 4Roots Farm Campus is located in The Packing District, an emerging neighborhood in the heart of Orlando. It will invite the community to gather and collaborate on the creation of a strong local food system.  Featuring a diverse range of growing systems, it will offer a unique hands-on learning experience that highlights innovative and sustainable practices and technologies from around the world. Learn more at http://www.4rootsfarm.org/ or follow us at @4rootsfarmcampus on Instagram and Facebook. 

About the AdventHealth Central Florida Division

AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division encompasses 17 hospitals and ERs in the four counties in and surrounding metro Orlando. The world-class hospitals, combined with a comprehensive outpatient care network, see more than 3.5 million patient visits annually. AdventHealth also has an expansive research portfolio in Central Florida, with more than 650 clinical trials and studies in progress. The division’s flagship campus — AdventHealth Orlando — boasts nationally and internationally recognized programs and serves as a major tertiary and quaternary referral hospital for much of the Southeast, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Quality specialty care is provided through AdventHealth Institutes, which are nationally recognized in numerous specialties. AdventHealth Orlando has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, Healthgrades, and the Leapfrog Group.

About Florida Blue Foundation

Florida Blue Foundation enables healthy communities by making grants, building coalitions, and embracing solutions that create a meaningful impact in our communities. More than 8 million Floridians have received services because of our community investments since our founding in 2001. Florida Blue Foundation is committed to improving health equity by impacting food security, advancing mental well-being, growing healthy communities, and addressing health disparities. Florida Blue Foundation is a trade name of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation, Inc., an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.FloridaBlueFoundation.com.

About Gordon Food Service

For more than 125 years, we have remained committed to the people we serve, delivering uncompromised quality and heartfelt service to our customers. Beginning as a simple butter-and-egg delivery service, we’ve grown to become the largest family-owned business in the foodservice industry. Today, we serve food service operators in the United States and throughout Canada and operate more than 180 Gordon Food Service stores in the US. By partnering with organizations from across industries—restaurants, healthcare, colleges, and universities—we help our customers create food experiences they will enjoy and remember. For more information about Gordon Food Service, visit us at gfs.com. For media inquiries, please contact media@gfs.com

Florida Blue Foundation, Gordon Food Service, AdventHealth Central Florida Division, 4Roots, Culinary Health Institute


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