Patients and residents in hospitals and long-term care facilities on Vancouver Island are being served meals with an increasing bounty of local food as a result of the Province’s Feed BC in Healthcare partnership with local health authorities.
“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.”
Encouraged by the Feed BC initiative to shift to more B.C. foods, Island Health developed a pilot project and engaged Islands West and the Island Vegetable Co-op Association to serve more Island-grown produce in several long-term care facilities. This project now reaches facilities in Chemainus, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Cumberland and Campbell River. Local family farms provide fresh produce, including Saanich’s Galey Farms and Michell Farms in Saanichton.
“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 health-care 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.”
Reflecting Feed BC’s whole supply chain approach to connecting institutions with local farms and food businesses, Island Health is working with Island-based food suppliers to make it easier to access and purchase B.C. products for their facilities. This includes produce from Islands West and B.C.-raised and processed turkey and chicken from B&C Foods, a processor based in Saanichton.
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.
Island Health has also created new recipes for patients and residents using local Island produce including:
- 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.
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.
Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health –
“Island Health is pleased to be able to offer Vancouver Island and B.C. foods to people in our care facilities through the Province’s Feed BC initiative. Our care teams strive to create a welcoming environment for our clients, and this project will bring even more fresh, local flavours to their dining experience.”
Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum –
“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.”
Terry Michell, Michell’s Farm Market –
“We’ve been in the farming business for six generations, so we understand the value and importance of fresh, local food in our community. We are proud to have our produce served in Island Health facilities, and working with partners like Island’s West Produce is helping bring fresh produce to more people throughout B.C. The Feed BC program is increasing awareness of local agriculture, which, in turn, supports jobs, businesses and helps protect farmland in the province.”
Richard Aspden, general manager, Islands West Produce –
“Islands West is helping get local, fresh products to care home residents and patients in the Island Health Authority. A program like Feed BC is encouraging to see from the support local businesses are receiving through partnerships being formed with distributors like us. We are proud to be part of this program so more people can enjoy more local products.”
Randy Andres, general manager, Island Vegetable Co-op Association –
“Our association has been representing growers in this region since 1951, and we are passionate about our food supply and making sure we have a viable and sustainable industry forever. We are committed to getting our product grown, harvested, graded, packed and distributed as we know our growers and consumers demand that we have good, fresh and safe food supply for everyone’s table in our growing region.”
- Led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, 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.
- In B.C., there are 170 health authority-owned and operated hospitals and residential-care facilities.
- In 2019-20, the second year of Feed BC, more than 30% of the food purchased by B.C.’s health authorities was produced and/or processed in B.C., representing a $3.5-million increase in B.C. food expenditures over 2018-19.
- Island Health serves more than four million meals each year to patients and residents in 28 hospitals and care facilities across Vancouver Island.
- Many other supply chain partners are supporting Island Health in bringing more B.C. foods to their health facilities, including Gordon Food Service, Sysco Canada and Compass Group.
Visit the Feed BC website:
Check out the Selling B.C. Food to B.C.’s Government-Supported Facilities guide:
Island Health: https://www.islandhealth.ca/