Provincial health-care facilities are working hard to serve patients and residents more local food, supporting farmers, fishers, ranchers and processors, and connecting more people with food from B.C. communities.
A new report shows that over 27% of the food served by health authorities in 2018-19 – the first year of Feed BC – was B.C. food, defined as a final product produced and/or processed within the geographic borders of the province.
“When Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham first proposed the ambitious early goal of ensuring 30% of food offered in public health facilities is from B.C, I knew it was a challenge we could work to meet,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am proud to recognize health authorities that have led the way in increasing foods served in their facilities that are grown and processed in B.C. It’s a critical shift, and they have adapted and developed excellent strategies to showcase B.C. products while ensuring patients receive quality, nutritious, local food.”
To encourage, inspire and support the shift to B.C. foods, the Ministry of Health partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and all of B.C.’s health authorities to implement Feed BC in health-care facilities. The Ministry of Health directed health authorities to annually report their progress on tracking and sourcing more B.C. food, beginning in 2018-19.
“The information is so important because it shows we’re making excellent progress toward achieving our Feed BC health-care target,” said Popham. “Serving B.C. food connects patients and residents to farmers, ranchers, fishers and food processors across the province, supports both the health and agriculture sectors, and contributes to provincial food security, helping build a more resilient and sustainable food sector in B.C.”
Feed BC is a provincial government priority to increase the use of foods grown and processed in B.C. in government-supported facilities. Led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Feed BC builds capacity and support along the food service supply chain to bring more local foods to patients, residents, students and clients throughout the province.
While procuring B.C. foods is a priority for health authorities, protecting the health and safety of vulnerable patients is paramount. All food products, including those produced and processed in B.C., must comply with the highest standards for food safety, nutrition, allergens and traceability.
Feed BC has given health authorities clear direction and provided additional supports. Food budgets, however, have not changed. Containing costs, including food costs, is imperative for health authorities.
- In B.C., there are 168 health authority-owned and operated hospitals and residential care facilities. They are overseen by five regional health authorities and the Provincial Health Services Authority.
- Health authorities found success in purchasing B.C. food through innovative solutions, such as introducing more local and seasonal fruit, vegetables and salads; offering a wider variety of locally baked goods and sandwich options, and when possible, making more items from scratch.
Read the report: BC Food Expenditures in Health Care 2018-19: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/growbc-feedbc-buybc/feed-bc/feed-bc-healthcare
Feed BC in Interior Health: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0024-000345
Feed BC in Fraser Health: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0004-000162
Read more about Feed BC: www.gov.bc.ca/FeedBC