From farms to Northern California hospitals: Healthier food for healthier patients

Chef Deane Bussiere shows off the yellow squash that he and staff are growing in the quarter acre garden at the hospital on Thursday, July 16, 2009. Dominican Hospital, in Santa Cruz, is using organic, sustainably sourced foods and has a garden where it grows organic vegetables and herbs. Chef Deane Bussiere, oversees the kitchen and garden.

From San Jose Mercury News

July 29, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Nothing spells patient satisfaction like free-range roast chicken after triple bypass surgery.

Throw some organic potatoes mashed with hormone-free milk and locally grown arugula salad onto the tray and hospital food may soon escape the culinary sneers it usually shares with TV dinners and airline meals.

Such bedside menus may not be far off for Northern California hospitals that are harnessing their buying power to demand changes in how food is grown and distributed. They’re part of a growing alliance of doctors and food advocates who say organic, fresh food is healthier, and local, sustainable food practices reduce pollution and contamination, which will ultimately lead to fewer health problems.

“What people eat is one of the most important determinants of their health,” said Dr. Preston Maring, an obstetrician at Kaiser Permanente who started the movement to put farmers markets outside the hospitals.

Keep reading at San Jose Mercury News