Local Food Challenge: St Michael’s Hospital Provides a “Market” for Local Food

When you think of a farmers’ market you might picture a mix of tents and tables in the centre of town, farmers busy setting up their stalls in the predawn hours of a Saturday morning to sell their wares to the locals. Or perhaps you envision a big historical building like Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, filled with vendors who have been there for years. But what if you could buy fresh, local Ontario food… at the hospital? It almost seems like a match made in heaven: finding the best, freshest food in a place where people go to get well.

This exact philosophy is what propels St. Michael’s Hospital.

St. Michael's Hospital Local Food Challenge

As part of their project for the Local Food Challenge, 2013, for one day this past summer and again in October, they set up a market for their staff and visitors in their Marketeria and provided an opportunity to sample their chefs’ local, seasonal specials, then purchase some of those same ingredients to take home. Both days were hugely successful, as the before and after photos illustrate. A survey of visitors revealed 99% of attendees loved it and would attend again! The market days provided an opportunity to make the connection between the food coming from our farms to the cities they feed, and especially how institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and daycares can make local work, everyday.

-Kelly Hughes
Education and Outreach Specialist

Applications are now being accepted for the Local Food Challenge 2014. Click here for full details.