Patients and residents in hospitals and care facilities across the Lower Mainland 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, as Feed BC is helping institutions to bring in more local culinary options that benefit patients and clients and B.C. farmers, fishers, ranchers and food processors.”
In the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), the B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam has developed a partnership with Okanagan Select, an Indigenous fishery owned and operated by the Syilx (Okanagan Nation Alliance), to source B.C.-caught and processed sockeye and chinook for patients. Introducing salmon and other menu items helps maintain connection for some Indigenous and other patients with cultural food interests and preferences, and supports B.C. fishers, producers and processors. It also helps the health authority work toward the goal of procuring at least 30% B.C. foods.
“The partnership Okanagan Select has developed with the B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Hospital means more local food is getting to more British Columbians in the care of the health authority,” said Cordell Yazzie, operations and sales co-ordinator, Okanagan Select. “This provides nourishing food to help keep those in care connected to their culture, which is important to us. Feed BC is supporting local companies expand into greater markets, and gives the opportunity to reach more people around B.C.”
For National Indigenous Peoples Day, the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital developed a menu featuring traditional B.C. foods and Indigenous recipes. The menu included salmon smoked in-house and candied salmon from the Okanagan Nation Alliance, bannock made using a recipe from one of their Indigenous patients, huckleberry and Saskatoon berry compote and marinated seaweed, all served on traditional cedar planks made by the patients.
In other PHSA facilities, such as the BC Children’s and BC Women’s hospitals, patient menus offer butter chicken, saag paneer and dahl from Surrey-based processor Spice Mantra, in partnership with food provider Compass Group.
“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 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.”
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Providence Health Care (PHC) are working with food service company Sodexo to help bring more B.C. foods to their patients, residents and facilities. Some examples of current B.C.-produced or processed products and suppliers to VCH and PHC are Highline Mushrooms produced in the Lower Mainland and baked goods from Monte Cristo’s bakery in Delta.
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.
Henry Yao, MLA for Richmond South Centre –
“Eating fresh, culturally appropriate food while staying in the hospital can help you to regain your strength and heal. By offering more local food in VCH facilities, we’re improving outcomes for people who are receiving care, while also supporting our local farmers and producers.”
Lynn Pelletier, vice-president of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Hospital –
“Food is a vital part of treating the whole person. Salmon and other local, familiar foods aren’t just about nutrition — they’re about identity and cultural connection, which are just as important for healing for many of our patients. We’re grateful for our partners and for the dedication of our team at the B.C. Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. They are making this exciting initiative possible.”
Sunny Mak, regional director, contracted support services, VCH –
“VCH is pleased to participate in this important and impactful program alongside our suppliers. Serving fresh, locally produced food is an extension of our commitment to provide the best care and culturally safe culinary options for patients, clients and communities throughout our 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 hospitals, residential care facilities, public post-secondary institutions and other government-supported facilities.
- 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 were produced and/or processed in B.C., representing a $3.5-million increase in B.C. food expenditures over 2018-19.
- VCH oversees food services in 33 VCH and PHC facilities.
- PHSA oversees food services at five facilities providing provincewide specialized services.
- The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital facility serves more than 235,000 meals annually.
Visit the Feed BC website:
Check out the Selling B.C. Food to B.C.’s Government-Supported Facilities guide:
Vancouver Coastal Health: http://www.vch.ca/
Providence Health Care: https://www.providencehealthcare.org/
Provincial Health Services Authority: http://www.phsa.ca/
Okanagan Select: https://okanaganselect.ca/