So, a chef named Joshna Maharaj was on CBC radio’s Sunday Edition this morning to promote her new book, “Take back the tray Revolutionizing food in hospitals, schools, and other institutions,” and I thought “Yay! My new best friend!” So I looked up her website and found an excerpt. She is opposed to the carby ultra-processed frozen food being warmed in hospitals, but she is okay with carby foods (biscuits, gravy, rice) as long as it’s made from scratch.
Alrighty then. The excerpt led me to the Mcconnell Foundation, with high hopes. In “Nourishing the Future of Food in Health Care: A Pan-Canadian Policy Scan 2018” (published May 2019) they say “The health of Canadians, and that of our health care system, is being significantly affected by diet-related chronic disease, food insecurity, antibiotic resistance and climate change. An important factor in all of these pressures is our current food system.”
So far, so good. What’s the answer? Canada Food Guide. Next.
The report cited Feed BC, let’s go there. “Since March 2019, Interior Health has made significant progress to include more B.C. foods on the menu:
Whole eggs from B.C.
Beef ground in B.C.
Tomatoes and peppers from the Okanagan.” Excellent.
But then: “Last year over 1.2 million entrée portions were made locally in the production kitchen at Vernon Jubilee Hospital for patients across Interior Health. This food complements other food made on-site at all Interior Health facilities.” I am thinking the frozen food being rewarmed will be of higher quality, but still frozen and rewarmed.
And a mention of nourishhealthcare.ca, which had an interesting if kinda extremist article posted May 4, 2020, “Future Scenarios for Food & Health Systems: Post-pandemic recovery and transition to a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable health care system in Canada.”
Hmmm, who are these people?
“Rethinking food will be an important way to shrink health care’s carbon footprint. Reducing food waste and shifting to more plant-rich diets are amongst the top four strategies for reducing carbon emissions in the Drawdown research led by Paul Hawken. Indigenous foodways, including connection to land, respectful harvesting, and tracking ecosystem changes, are a source of wisdom to help navigate out of the climate crisis.
“Climate change will also have a significant impact on population health, and threatens to widen disparities faced by marginalized communities around community health and well-being. Given the health care sector’s significant contribution to climate its leadership will be a vital part of our society, businesses and communities coming together to address the climate emergency.
“Changing hospital menus, food service operations and procurement can help to decarbonize supply chains. Hospitals can use their significant purchasing power to ‘bring to life’ Canada’s food guide including serving less meat overall and sourcing more sustainable meat and plant-based protein. In this work it will be vital to support Indigenous communities access to traditional/country foods essential to their cultures.”
Plant-based. Okay. Happy Sunday.
Feed BC. (N.D.) From https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/growbc-feedbc-buybc/feed-bc/feed-bc-healthcare
Maharaj, J. (2020.) From https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/05/09/what-i-learned-from-trying-to-make-hospital-food-actually-taste-good.html
Mcconnell Foundation. (2019. ) From https://mcconnellfoundation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Nourishing-the-future-of-health-care.pdf
Nourish. (2020.) From https://www.nourishhealthcare.ca/blog/2020/4/27/future-scenarios-for-food-amp-health-systems-post-pandemic-recovery-and-transition-to-a-more-resilient-sustainable-and-equitable-health-care-system-in-canada