Local Hospital, Local Food

Local Hospital, Local Food

photo by Casey Riffe

There was a good article in the Billings Gazette this week about our local Livingston Hospital. They’ve been making the change to local product and cooking “from scratch” (as long-time readers know, this phrase is one of my pet peeves). It’s been a big success, with 3000 more meals served this year than last, and folks who aren’t sick, or visiting someone, actually going to the hospital cafeteria for lunch. We have such great product around here, and it sounds like Jesse Williams is doing a lot of the same things that Rick Bayless does in his restaurants, thinking ahead, putting up food during times of abundance, building relationships with vendors. In the midst of all these stories about the abysmal state of school lunches, and the way we’re treating our kids like human garbage disposals for processed food, this one gave me real hope.
Here’s the quote:

“When we stopped just reheating prepared food and started cooking again in the kitchen, they (staff) pulled out the stops,” said Jessie Williams, the hospital’s food and nutrition services manager.
Not only has the hospital shifted its focus to whole foods, but it’s buying a large share of those foods from Montana producers. Few would doubt the health benefits, but Williams says the switch is also healthy for her budget.
“This is not that hard,” she said. “It can be done. You just start with one thing, even if it’s just onions. I’ll tell you, it will snowball from there.”

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