Patients in healthcare facilities are immunologically vulnerable, and it is essential to provide them with adequate nutrition to maximize healing and recovery. This concept is the driving force for an innovative farm-to-healthcare initiative at the University of British Columbia.
In January 2014, The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm embarked on a three-year project to introduce fresh local produce from the UBC Farm to patients at the UBC Hospital. To date, this initiative is the first of its kind in BC.
In partnership with multiple stakeholders, including Sodexo Canada, it is projected that the UBC Farm will be an official supplier to provide fresh produce to the UBC Hospital by 2015-2016.
What’s the hold up?
There are many barriers to overcome before fresh local produce is offered to patients, which is why a relationship of this nature has not yet been formed. Two central areas of concern are food safety and logistics.
Paramount to all other barriers, food safety is of particular concern. In order for the UBC Farm to provide produce to patients, they are required to go through a rigorous process to meet a third-party certification of either HACCP or Canada Gap. After meeting this standard, the UBC Farm will apply to become a compliant brand with GFS (Gordon Food Service), who is the distributor for Sodexo, and a contract between the UBC Farm and Sodexo will be negotiated.
Creating a Driving Force
As this project is the first of its kind, UBC is utilizing its greatest resource- its students, to aid in ensuring this initiative is a success. Through immersing students in community-based action research, and developing a ‘Learning Lab’ to commit all stakeholders to the process, research, faculty and community members support the pilot project.
To learn more about this project, please view the full report at the UBC SEEDS Library.
Communications Coordinator | Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
Faculty of Land and Food Systems | The University of British Columbia
3461 Ross Drive (Location)
2357 Main Mall (mailing) | Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4
Office 604 822 5092 | Cell 604 649 7485 | Fax 604 822 6839
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ubcfarm.ubc.ca
Erin Branco, BSc, NM
Fourth year UBC Dietetics student, who has a passion for connecting people with food