Farm-to-tray table: Wis. hospital eats local

Your idea of a typical hospital meal probably doesn’t include butternut squash ravioli or a blueberry and goat cheese salad.

Chef John Williams’s  seasonal menu for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, features both.

According to an AP report featuring Williams, U.S. hospitals are making efforts to bring fresh, unprocessed foods to patients and visitors.

“In the industry, you’ve seen a lot of farm-to-table approach, especially within the restaurants,” said Williams, who previously worked at a spa. “Why not bring that to the health systems?”

Williams purchases fresh fish, fruit and vegetables for the hospital year-round at a nearby greenhouse.

“Patient care is no longer just about treating and healing those who come through our doors,” said Dr. Maulik Joshi of the American Hospital Association. “The bar on quality is continually raised and we must expand the ways we care for those in need. Healthy eating is one such approach, whether this be food provided in the hospital or education provided to patients about nutrition for care management and improved health. This component of overall wellness contributes to improved patient outcomes and healthier communities.”

UW and Williams aren’t the only ones looking to smoosh hospital food’s bad rap. The Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier reported last summer on initiatives to promote better food options throughout that state, including an urban farm on the Medical University of South Carolina campus. And hundreds of hospitals have taken a “Healthy Food In Health Care” pledge through Health Care Without Harm aimed at improving the quality and sustainability of food served in hospitals.

Natalie Jennings is a Web producer for PostTV.
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