March 8, 2019 5:56 pm
Updated: March 8, 2019 9:53 pm

Interior Health shifts to locally grown food as part of Feed BC initiative


More meals from Interior Health will soon include locally grown food.

On Friday, the province announced Feed BC, a new initiative to ensure more of the food served to patients at Interior Health facilities is grown, harvested or processed in B.C.

“Feed BC is a game changer. It’s about working collaboratively to encourage, inspire and support a shift to more B.C. foods in health-care and other government facilities. It’s food as medicine,” said Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham.

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“Buying local not only supports the agriculture sector in B.C. and B.C. residents, it contributes to our provincial food security, helping build a more resilient and sustainable food supply.”

READ MORE: Central Okanagan food banks partner with B.C. grocery chain

Each year, Interior Health makes more than five million meals for patients, families and people in need in the community.

“Feed BC is creating more opportunities and opening doors for British Columbians in the farming sector. We work hard to grow quality and delicious products that we are proud of and want to share with the rest of the province,” said Peter Simonsen, a local farmer and vice-president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association.

As part of the initiative, the health region has already made the switch to B.C. shelled eggs and B.C. ground beef.

The B.C. cattle industry is also working to establish a federally inspected packing plant to increase the availability of that beef, Kevin Boon, general manager of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, said.

“It is especially important that our health-care facilities are at the front of the line to get it. This initiative is great for both the patient and the rancher,” Boon added.

The B.C. government is providing more than $350,000 in funding for the initiative over the next year.

WATCH BELOW: Extended interview with Interior Health spokesperson Andrew Pattison.

The province hopes to roll the plan out across other health authorities and public institutions, such as universities and colleges, in the future.

“Interior Health is proud to launch Feed BC at our facilities. Having locally sourced food for our patients further connects Interior Health to the communities that we serve,” said Doug Cochrane, Interior Health’s board chairman.

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