Bob Ewing — Both our brains and our bodies require adequate nutrition in order to function properly. This is especially true when ill, injured, or in the hospital. Healthy food helps build healthy minds and bodies is basic knowledge and must be one of the foundations upon which a healthcare system is built.
Recent concerns, which echo similar comments from past years about the quality of hospital food, indicate society is making dangerous choices as it attempts to save money by not providing sufficient nutrition to everyone who, for whatever reason, needs to stay in a hospital.
There is change on the horizon and thus hope, there are hospitals and organizations that are addressing this problem by making sure patients get balanced and appropriate meals during their hospital stay.
One such program Plow to Plate uses hospital leadership and community-based programs to promote local foods and agriculture as a critical means to well-being and disease prevention.
Plow to Plate works with local farmers, such as Megan Hartley who operates Marble Valley Farm in Kent, CT. Marble Valley Farm is an organic operation and provides Plow to Plate with the following and more: endive, head lettuce, beets, squash, tomatoes, arugula, mizuna, mustard greens, hot peppers, celery root, diakon, winter squash, and edible pumpkin.
The meals offered at New Milford Hospital which follows the Plow to Plate program are not the usual hospital fare.
Wendy Carlson, in the NY Times of July 29, 2011, wrote:
“Haute cuisine, or even chicken salad jazzed up with cranberries, is a radical departure from bland, unappetizing hospital fare. Mystery meat doused in murky gravy, those soggy vegetables, the acid green Jell-O and the congealed tapioca pudding soon may be on the wane. This spring, the Culinary Institute of America began offering its first cooking course geared to the health care industry, a sign that the movement for local food, or at least more palatable food, is making inroads”.
Another program that focuses on making sure patients eat properly is Healthy Food in Health Care. Healthy Food in Health care combines the purchasing power and expertise of the health care sector to advance the development of a sustainable food system.
Programs, such as, Healthy Food in Health care and Plow to Plate show there action underway that can hopefully influence hospitals and other healthcare facilities to act on the reality that both our brains and our bodies must have adequate and appropriate nutrition in order to thrive.