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Nursing Homes Serving Local, Sustainable Food

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The sustainable food movement has been gaining traction quickly over the last few years. In fact, it is difficult to get anywhere around a plate of food without the word sustainability cropping up. It began with high-end restaurants serving local, sustainable food and then progressed to grocery stores offering locally grown produce and meat. Then college campuses and local fast-food places began offering local grown and produced food as well. Now, nursing homes are beginning to offer locally grown, sustainable food, in an effort to improve the lives of residents and help the local economy.

Margie Ginsberg, a registered dietician at FutureCare Cherrywood in Maryland, began a campaign at the nursing home to recycle more, and as a result became active with the Chesapeake Food Leadership Council. Then she began to notice that the food in the kitchens was, for the most part, processed and expensive. As a result, she began to work with the nursing home's food service director to begin buying all local produce, cut costs and offer healthier alternatives on the menus. FutureCare's costs when down as the kitchen began making everything from scratch. Costs have generally gone down at the nursing homes implementing the locally grown food plan. And complaints about the quality of the food have significantly decreased as well. FutureCare's residents now tend to offer suggestions for the menu, rather than complaints. The residents have become more familiar with the seasonal availability of certain foods, informing their suggests. In addition, local produce is sold out front of the nursing home, allowing residents to shop for foods that are not always available in the dining hall, like strawberries and watermelon. When residents were allowed to choose what foods to buy each week gave the residents independence and flexibility.


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