Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sinai Hospital Leads the Way In Buying Local Food

Sinai Hospital is the first hospital to receive food from Baltimore's Real Food Farm, a reflection of our commitment to healthy and local food options.

Farmer Tyler Brown (on left) delivered cucumbers and squash last week, which Sinai Food and Nutrition Services Director Laure Sullivan said would be used in the salad bar.

Pictured on right are Brown with Sinai Chef Matt Sercombe. The second delivery of vegetables from Real Food Farm was scheduled for today.

"There are so many health benefits of local food," Sullivan said. "Local food is good for the community and good for the body. There are also economic reasons, such as we are getting a better quality of food that lasts longer.

Real Food Farm, a project of Baltimore's Civic Works, is located in Clifton Park. It uses high tunnel greenhouses to produce organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs for Baltimore residents.

Sinai Hospital was the first hospital in the state to sign the Healthy Food in Healthcare Pledge, and LifeBridge Health is the only health care system in Maryland to sign the pledge, signifying a commitment in local, nutritious, sustainable food as well as modeling healthy food practices

Buying locally benefits both our patients, visitor and larger community by providing better tasting food with less pesticides, plus shows support of the local farmer.When you buy locally, you are also helping the environment because food doesn't need to be transported over as long a distance, thereby cutting down on the use of oil and gas.

This week is Buy Local Week in Baltimore, where residents are challenged to buy at least one thing from a local farm every day for a week. According to the Buy Local Challenge, a project of Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, if every Maryland household purchased just $12 worth of farm products for eight weeks (basically the summer season), over $200 million would be put back into the pockets of our farmers.

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