Guest Blog: Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Alliance

The Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance received a $100,000 investment from the Greenbelt Fund to increase local food served in long-term care facilities. This guest blog details their recent workshop hosted by Burlodge Canada.

Cooking Up New Ideas in Long Term Care

There is a bias that comes to mind when we think about food and healthcare facilities.
Images of various food products, sometimes separated by dividers on the same tray, sometimes running into each other on a plate, that are brought in frozen, reheated and can end up looking far from fresh and healthy.

However, Regional teams in the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance’s Municipal Local Food Procurement project, with the support of $100,000 investment from the Greenbelt Fund, are challenging this stereotype with the fresh food they are offering in their Regional Long Term Care (LTC) facilities.

These food teams are focusing their efforts to purchase more local, Ontario produce and food products to serve to residents, and are striving to communicate these efforts to the broader community to promote a better understanding of food services in LTC, and the care and effort that goes into this work.

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Changing purchasing practices is only one prong of this initiative to get more local food into LTC facilities. Regional teams are also workshopping how to create local, fresh recipes that focus on seasonal, Ontario ingredients for their residents.
To assist in this effort, Burlodge Canada hosted the Region of Durham’s LTC food team at its national headquarters on December 1st, 2016.

A leader and innovator in food service equipment for healthcare facilities, Burlodge is inviting their clients to rethink how their ovens are seen and used, through their “Refresh” seminar.

What started out as a small Greenbelt Fund to create recipes for Burlodge ovens that focus on fresh, local ingredients, has turned into a collection of over 90 “Refresh” recipes, a state of the art demo kitchen, and these facilitated cooking and learning workshops for healthcare staff.

In this workshop, the local food teams created a menu of local bread pudding, Ontario apple crisp, shephard’s pie with local beef and vegetables, Ontario feta and red pepper frittata, Mediterranean bean salad with Ontario cucumbers and tomatoes, Ontario honey roasted carrots and local pasta fagioli.

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The local items found in these recipes are items that the LTC facilities have access to through their budget considerations and they comply with their Group Purchasing Organization food contracts; - two important considerations when trying to influence change of local food purchasing within Broader Public Sector Institutions.

Not only did the workshop provide a platform for conversation around local food use in LTC facilities, but it was also a springboard for teams to consider different recipes and Ontario products that can be implemented into new menu items. Upon evaluation, 100% of participants agreed that they would consider using some of these recipes in their facilities menu offerings!

Spring/Summer menus are created in January for all LTC facilities. We look forward to seeing what ideas will be incorporated into the menu offerings at our partner facilities.