More locally grown produce added to Vancouver Island hospital, care-home meals

Michell's Farm is among the local producers that are adding their products to Island Health meals: (Michell's Farm / Facebook)

Island Health is increasing the amount of local food that's served in meals at hospitals and long-term care facilities in the Vancouver Island region.

Produce from Galey Farms in Saanich and Michell's Farm in Saanichton are being added to deliveries for Island Health facilities in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Chemainus, Cumberland and Campbell River.

Other local farms are also included in the pilot project, which was developed by Island Health with input from Islands West and the Island Vegetable Co-op Association, according to the province.

"Having access to fresh, high-quality food in hospitals and care facilities helps people heal," said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, in a statement Friday.

"This initiative also benefits farmers, producers and people across B.C. by strengthening our food supply chain and supporting local jobs," he said.

According to the province, nearly one third of all food purchased by the B.C. health-care system is locally produced or processed.

The province adds that steps are taken to ensure that all food is up to its safety standards, regardless of whether it is sourced locally or abroad.

Every year, Island Health serves approximately four million meals to patients and residents on Vancouver Island alone.

The health authority has also added new recipes to its meals that make use of Vancouver Island produce it is receiving, according to the province. The recipes include:

  • Potatoes – potato salad, roasted nugget potatoes
  • Carrots – maple glazed carrots
  • Beets – borscht, orange glazed beets
  • Cabbage – coleslaw, braised red cabbage
  • Zucchini – chocolate zucchini bread

"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 B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.

"What started as a simple idea has now grown into an important and successful program," she said.