Buy local, live healthy
Still, leaders within Interior Health believe it is important to buy fresh local food and support the local agricultural industry.
“We have been working steadily with suppliers to take advantage of all the great food that is grown, produced and processed right here in B.C.,” says Interior Health regional director of support services Alan Davies. “We use as much locally grown produce as possible in our care homes and hospitals, plus cheeses, herbs, sausages, and more. We also highlight locally grown foods on our cafeteria menus, such as Armstrong carrots. We try to purchase as many fresh fruits and vegetables in season as possible. Overall, there has been a shift within Interior Health’s food services to provide fresher meals, with less sodium and using sustainable, green practices in our kitchens.”
“If you include bread and dairy, I would say about 30 per cent of all our food is purchased from within B.C.,” says Davies.
“If a recall occurs, we can have every customer notified within a two to three-hour period,” says Sysco Kelowna account executive Ryan Thiessen.
Sysco only buys products from farmers that are Good Agricultural Practice certified.
“Over the years, more co-ops have been established and more farmers are signing on to GAP, so we can take advantage of those items being available,” says Thiessen. “We can pretty much guarantee a B.C. apple about eight months out of the year.”
Growers such as Kelowna-based Angelo De Simone and his son, Pierre, are an important part of that supply.
“It’s very good to see more people interested in buying local food, including large organizations like Interior Health. It means fewer greenhouse gas emissions and support for family-run farms like ours,” De Simone says.
“We are doing what we can and we encourage others in the community to look at their own purchases. B.C. has so much to offer in terms of buying locally produced food,” says Davies