More locally-grown food being served at Vancouver Island hospitals and care homes

More locally-grown food being served at Vancouver Island hospitals and care homes

The Province of B.C. has announced that more locally-grown food is being served in hospitals and long-term care facilities on Vancouver Island as a result of the Feed BC in Healthcare partnership with local health authorities.

According to the government, Island Health developed a pilot project for its facilities by engaging Islands West and the Island Vegetable Co-op Association in order to serve more Island-grown produce.

As part of the project, Island Health also created a series of new recipes for patients at hospitals and long-term care facilities using local Island produce and ingredients.

This locally-grown food project is now being deployed at facilities in Chemainus, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Cumberland and Campbell River, with food — including fresh produce — being sourced from family farms on Vancouver Island, such as Saanich’s Galey Farms and Michell Farms in Saanichton.

“Having our loved ones able to enjoy more local and seasonal food while in hospital or living in long-term care is an important part of healing and staying connected,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “What started as a simple idea has now grown into an important and successful program. Feed BC is helping institutions bring in more local culinary options, benefiting patients and clients, as well as B.C. farmers, fishers, ranchers and food processors.”

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Other food companies supplying B.C. foods to Island Health include shell eggs from Golden Valley in Abbotsford, baked goods from Canada Bread in Langley and dairy products from Dairyland in the Lower Mainland.

“This partnership is a proud result of hard work behind the scenes to improve access to fresh, locally grown produce and other local food and beverage products,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We know how important it is to eat well, and this demonstrates our ability to empower the healthcare system to prioritize healthy, local food in hospitals and other facilities. People know they’re getting the best of B.C. when they are in our care.”

Some of the new recipes that have been developed for patients as part of the pilot project, using locally-grown foods, include:

  • potatoes – potato salad, roasted nugget potatoes;
  • carrots – maple glazed carrots;
  • beets – borscht, orange glazed beets;
  • cabbage – coleslaw, braised red cabbage; and
  • zucchini – chocolate zucchini bread.

Island Health emphasizes that although procuring foods from local sources is important, protecting the health and safety of vulnerable patients is still the number one priority. Therefore, Island Health ensures that all food products must comply with the highest standards for food safety, nutrition, allergens and traceability.

“Having access to fresh, high-quality food in hospitals and care facilities helps people heal. This initiative also benefits farmers, producers and people across B.C. by strengthening our food supply chain and supporting local jobs,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.

Island Health says that it serves more than four million meals each year to patients and residents in 28 hospitals and care facilities across Vancouver Island.

As part of the initiative as well, the government says that other supply chain partners have been supporting Island Health in bringing more B.C. foods to their health facilities, including Gordon Food Service, Sysco Canada and Compass Group.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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