Toward a New Era of Values-Based Purchasing: Welcome to Fasken Law & Buy Social Canada

We are building an ever-stronger team to bring values-based procurement  to Canadian health care. Today we are delighted to officially welcome Fasken Law and Buy Social Canada as project partners to one of our five Nourish collaborative projects.

The values-based procurement team's scan of best-in-class social procurement language is currently underway. Under the leadership of Buy Social Canada's David Le Page and Maija FIorante, the scan will cover provincial, domestic, and international examples of language that harnesses a public buyer's purchasing power to procure foods that support the health of patients, communities, and planet.

With the legal expertise of award-winning firm Fasken Law, led by Kathryn Beck, Vanessa Mui, and Daniel Fabiano, we will bring this research to life by developing and open-sourcing tested language for adoption by health care food purchasers.

We will develop, test, and open-source two sustainable procurement tools: one to support organizations with self-operated food services and one for organizations with outsourced food services. Creation and testing of two procurement tools aims to support the sector to break out of the current cost-driven process that defines healthcare food purchasing. Our goal is to advance more responsible procurement of healthy, sustainable and tasty meals for health care. Similar to our peers in the Nourish Sustainable Menus project, we are interested in the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

Over the next months, we will be recruiting health care sites to test the contract language developed by our team. Please send us a note through the Get in touch form if you are interested in being a beta-test site or would like to become otherwise involved.

With the growing circle of engagement around this project, so too is our confidence growing that we urgently need to bridge the gap between our desire and our capacity to bring our values more fully to life in our public institutions. 

We will develop, test, and open-source two sustainable procurement tools: one to support organizations with self-operated food services and one for organizations with outsourced food services... We urgently need to bridge the gap between our desire and our capacity to bring our values more fully to life in our public institutions. 

We couldn't be happier to be joined by Fasken and Buy Social as we continue on this journey. 

Travis Celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day at Grove Park with a Traditional Menu

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June 21 marked National Indigenous Peoples Day, and to celebrate and honour the day, Travis brought Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek dishes to the Grove Park Home menu. We interviewed Travis to learn how it all came about and to hear his takeaways from the day.
 

What got you thinking about Indigenous food in care?
I never really considered Indigenous food in healthcare prior to becoming a member of the Nourish cohort. After learning more about traditional foods from other cohort members, I realized that there is a lot that needs to be done to promote Indigenous foods in Canada and to educate the public.

Why does it matter to you?
It was important to recognize Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek people. The area is rich in their history, and I believe it was an opportunity to share their culture and cuisine with our residents, families and employees.
 

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I did some research on the Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek foods, and spoke with a family member who is actively engaged in sharing Indigenous traditions.


Tell us about your process to create a new menu for this day.
Initially, I reached out to Kathy Loon and Kelly Gordon, as well as Hayley Lapalme who provided me with some feedback on menu creation. That gave me a good baseline to develop the menu. Then I did some research on the Huron-Wendat and Anishinabek foods, and spoke with a family member who is actively engaged in sharing Indigenous traditions.

What's on the menu and how did you develop it? Where did you source the food?
The menu consisted of Three Sisters Soup, we used a recipe sourced online. We were originally going to serve a maple glazed trout but had difficulty sourcing a suitable cost-effective product, so we went with salmon. From there it was accompanied with blueberry bannock (which was a commercially sourced tea biscuit), maize (corn) and for dessert was fresh strawberries, sourced locally.
 

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How was the menu received?
The menu was received quite well, and the promotion of Indigenous Peoples day engaged our staff to discuss further. We had the adult day program staff even prepare a First Nations treat consisting of warm apple slices, cranberry and berries.

What reactions did residents give? What about staff?
We have a small contingent of Indigenous residents, but the most popular menu item was the Three Sisters Soup. We had numerous staff thank us for doing something to recognize the Indigenous population. It was well received.

Will you do it again? Same or different?
I would absolutely do it again. I didn't give myself enough time to source product. In the future, I would get in touch with a local Native Friendship Centre or one of the many reservations close by to source better recipes and menu item options. It can be difficult to develop a menu in long-term care that is appropriate for an ailing population that we serve.

 
I would absolutely do it again. A few suggestions for others: connect with your local Native Friendship Centre, traditional food specialists, and even the clientele that you serve.
 

What advice do you have for others who are thinking of bringing traditional foods into their own menu?
A few suggestions for others, as said above: connect with your local Native Friendship Centre, traditional food specialists, and even clientele that you serve. Do research on the items you are serving so that you can educate the people you're serving. Have fun sharing and learning!

Thank you Travis! 

Patients and staff enjoy traditional foods at Saskatchewan Health Authority Regina on National Indigenous Peoples Day

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To celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Stephanie and her food and nutrition staff at Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities in Regina served up delicious traditional dishes to both staff and patients. We interviewed Stephanie to learn about how she and her team planned this menu and what inspired her.
 

What got you thinking about Indigenous food in care?  
Nourish! It was the collective knowledge and the passion of my Nourish colleagues that inspired me to start thinking about how I could incorporate more traditional foods into the menus where I work. I had a moment around the Colton Boushie trial where I thought to myself, ‘If everyone did one small thing to move this forward, we could change things.’ And then I realized, ‘Well, what am I doing?’ So I decided to dedicate a large portion of our new Wellness Garden to Truth and Reconciliation, where we will grow traditional medicinal plants in partnership with local First Nations communities and Elders. Doing this menu was another step we could take to put our learning into practice.

Why does it matter to you?
It matters because many of the people in our care have Indigenous roots and sadly this has been largely overlooked in our menu planning. I believe that every person has the capacity to contribute in a positive way to truth and reconciliation.
 

  Nutrition and Food Services employee, Lee Bannister, dishing up the bison stew for patients at the Regina General Hospital in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day!

Nutrition and Food Services employee, Lee Bannister, dishing up the bison stew for patients at the Regina General Hospital in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day!


What's on the menu and how did you develop it? Where did you source the food? 
At our Nourish retreat in April, my group had the good fortune to visit the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre in Whistler as a part of our learning journeys, and have lunch from their café. I had the most amazing salmon sandwich on bannock and wondered if it was something we could do in our cafeterias here in Regina. I described it to one of my Food Services Managers (Garnet Roberts), who is also an amazing chef, who said “no problem.” Garnet used Traditional Foods and Recipes from the Wild Side, a publication by the Native Women’s Association of Canada as a resource for recipes.

Our Food Services Manager used ‘Traditional Foods and Recipes from the Wild Side,’ a publication by the Native Women’s Association of Canada as a resource for recipes.

 

With National Indigenous Peoples Day on the horizon, we selected this day for its debut and learned to create a recipe for salmon on bannock sandwich with arugula and a juniper dill aioli. Using bison sourced locally from Saskatchewan, Garnet also prepared a dish of bison stew, served with corn and bannock to honour the day while also celebrating local ingredients. The stew was perfect as it could work with nearly all diet types (although we did have to relax our restrictions for sodium and fat). We served this meal across our four Regina sites to nearly all patients and residents and featured this item in the cafeteria as well. We lost count after 1000 servings! It was a big hit.
 

  Joyce Wong serving up the salmon on bannock sandwich in the hospital cafeteria

Joyce Wong serving up the salmon on bannock sandwich in the hospital cafeteria


What reactions did the residents give? What about staff?  
There was a real buzz in our kitchens. Staff was excited about serving something new and different and we had never really done anything in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day before. Many of the staff tried the stew before we served it and they felt proud – proud of our department for making the day special for the people in our care and proud of themselves for being a part of it.

Will you do it again? Same or different?  
We will absolutely do it again, but we will have to find a different recipe for next year.  The bison stew and bannock was such a hit we are planning to add it into our regular menu rotation. As for the salmon sandwich, I’m pretty sure we will see it in our cafeterias again soon – it sold out too!
 

The bison stew and bannock was such a hit we are planning to add it into our regular menu rotation.
 
  Paul Neiman, a cook at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (Regina) , proudly displays the salmon on bannock sandwich prepared in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Wascana joined the Pasqua Hospital, the Regina General Hospital and Regina Pioneer Village in this celebration, serving more than 2000 servings of bison stew and salmon sandwiches to our patients, staff, and visitors.

Paul Neiman, a cook at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre (Regina) , proudly displays the salmon on bannock sandwich prepared in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day. Wascana joined the Pasqua Hospital, the Regina General Hospital and Regina Pioneer Village in this celebration, serving more than 2000 servings of bison stew and salmon sandwiches to our patients, staff, and visitors.


What advice do you have for others who are thinking of bringing traditional foods into their own menu? 
My advice to others is, especially if this is for a special occasion like National Indigenous Peoples Day, would be set aside your dietitian hat (or work with your dietitians) and relax your nutrient goals for the day. We decided we wanted something special for everyone, including our patients on more restrictive diets (like cardiac and renal), so they too could experience the meal as close to the ‘real thing’ as possible. We made a version with ground bison and veggies so even our folks on soft and minced diets could enjoy the same meal. We were so pleased to hear we got it right, with colleagues from Native Health Services sharing… “that was some top quality bannock today”.

Thank you Stephanie!

Travis Durham wins award for Nourish work on on-site honey production and gardening  

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Nourish innovator Travis Durham and his long-term care organization Grove Park Home was awarded the Advantage Ontario’s 2018 Innovation and Excellence Award, which recognizes innovative programs or techniques in workplace quality and the provision of care or services for seniors.

Nourish led Travis Durham, who was already passionate about obtaining local produce for resident meals, to lead several projects including a resident-focused vegetable garden and on-campus honey production. He started honey production in the spring of 2017, where he invited a local honey producer, Dickey Bee Honey, as an educator and end-producer. Since then,  a private honey label was created with 300 jars of honey produced for sale to the community, leaving enough honey for his resident population for meal service and food production. Travis also wrote an article how to introduce beekeeping and honey production to health care here

 

  Some honey from harvesting our bee hive (Photo from Travis) 

 Some honey from harvesting our bee hive (Photo from Travis) 

 
 A jar of the private label Honey Grove honey. (Photo from Travis) 

A jar of the private label Honey Grove honey. (Photo from Travis) 


Travis also led the creation of an on-site vegetable garden by collaborating with a local company The Growing Connection, which donated a dozen Caja garden boxes, initial supplies and start up labour. The garden boxes were placed on concrete blocks in an enclosed center garden, and a ramp created to make the garden accessible to the resident population. Since then, residents have been encouraged by Manager Barb Caicco’s Life Enrichment staff to spend time in the gardens tending to weeds and picking fresh vegetables. All of the vegetables have been used in the preparation of resident meals. As a next step, the Resident Leadership Team has announced that they will fund the purchase of an additional one dozen garden boxes, start up supplies and labour for Spring 2018.

Travis and his winning organization was presented with a framed certificate and a $1,000.00 cash award at the 2018 Annual General Meeting & Convention at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto.

  Residents at Grove Park Home harvesting kale from the gardens (Photo from Travis) 

 Residents at Grove Park Home harvesting kale from the gardens (Photo from Travis) 

 L to R Mienke Straatsma (GPH), Robert Patterson (The Growing Connection), Travis Durham (GPH)

L to R Mienke Straatsma (GPH), Robert Patterson (The Growing Connection), Travis Durham (GPH)

 


 

Sourcing meat raised without antibiotics: If A&W can do it, why can’t Canadian hospitals?

Health care facilities are on the front line of dealing with antibiotic resistance, named a global health threat by the World Health Organization. Each year in Canada, more than 18,000 hospitalized patients acquire infections resistant to antimicrobials and the “total medical care costs associated with antimicrobial resistant infections have been estimated at $1 billion”annually. However, health care facilities aren’t flexing one of their biggest muscles that could help address antibiotic resistance: their food purchasing power and influence.

Investing in Local: When Supportive Policy Meets On-the-Ground Action

Two Nourish leaders — Marianne Katusin in Ontario and Donna Koenig in British Columbia — are innovating with their menus, purchasing and supply chains to get more local food on the patient tray. Both are working in provinces that are making local food promotion a priority through supportive policy environments that enable local purchasing.

We're Hiring (again): Traditional & Country Food Programs Advocacy Coordinator

The Traditional & Country Foods collaborative project team is hiring a coordinator to support their project to meet the growing demand from institutions that want to learn how to deliver culturally-safe traditional and country food programs. The full job posting is here.

Current colonial regulations make it difficult for Indigenous People to access their traditional foods in many health care settings. Our team believes that “to deny one’s food is to deny them of their culture.” While some health care facilities have taken leadership in establishing Traditional Food Programs (TFP), these facilities have been overwhelmed with requests to share information about their TFPs.

To meet this growing interest across the country to develop capacity to deliver TFPs, this team will create an Advocacy Resource to empower health leaders within organizations to start or expand traditional food programs across the country. The advocacy resource will build on existing resources and aims to support senior leadership and food service teams in health organizations to meaningfully develop culturally-safe traditional and country food programs.

The resource will provide relevant background information and linkages to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and will provide managers and senior leaders with the appropriate tools to address the political and systemic barriers associated with thoughtfully developing TFPs. In addition, the resource will provide technical and “best practice” guidelines related to sourcing, processing, food production, service, storage, food safety, and traceability of country/wild (non-inspected) foods.

The team seeks a a consultant with knowledge of Indigenous traditional/country foods and healthcare system; experience working with Indigenous populations and an understanding of colonialism and its impacts on present day Indigenous health outcomes; excellent communication and bridge-building skills. 

The full job posting is here. Deadline to apply is April 4. 

If you are a potential contributor or user of this resource, you can get in touch with the team by emailing: nourishTFP[at]gmail.com. 

Wanted: Legal researcher to advance values-based procurement

One of Nourish's five national collaborative projects is hiring a contract legal researcher with an interest in public procurement and food systems sustainability. This is for an ambitious cohort-led project to build capacity for more values-based food procurement in public institutions. 

The core team for this project, made up of institutional food buyers and food service managers, is looking to hire a researcher who understands public procurement practices, process, and relevant policies to produce. The selected researcher will complete a comprehensive national and international scan on best in-class sustainable language in public procurement. Supported by the core team and advisors, the researcher will also work with a lawyer to help produce national RFP models for beta-testing this year. 

The detailed job description can be found here. Please share with motivated, mission-aligned candidates in your network.

Deadline to submit a proposed scope of work is March 22. 

Webinar Dec 12, 2017 - Unravelling the food-health nexus

For anyone interested in the Food-Health Nexus, join this webinar hosted by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. The webinar will feature Lead Author Cécilia Rocha who will share highlights of the Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus report, showing how unhealthy work conditions, contamination of water, soil and air, contaminated foods, unhealthy diets, and food insecurity interact in interrelated, self-reinforcing, and complex ways. 
 

Nourish Fall Newsletter: Connecting the Seams of Patient Care With Food

While the food that is served at a healthcare institution exists as a line item in a budget, it can also be an opportunity to connect to a broader continuum of patient care. Comforting and healing food is one of the most fundamental touchpoints in a healthcare experience that connects the patient to a feeling of safety and comfort in a foreign space that feels far away from their home.

Letting Patients Guide Our Actions: Food for Thought!

Not everyone equates hospitals as a place for a pleasant dining experience, but the Nutrition and Food Service (NFS) team within Alberta Health Services is aiming to change that perception! Operating food services at 107 sites, NFS aims to put patients and their families at the centre of everything they do. Read more.