A recent poll conducted by Environics Research Group shows that more than nine out of ten (91 per cent) of Ontarians believe the Province should ensure that more local food is on the menus in publicly funded institutions, including long-term care homes.
Unfortunately, as this report Local Food and Ontario's Long-Term Care Sector (2015) reveals, there are many barriers to making that happen. This report documents the current state of local food usage in Ontario's Long-Term Care sector.
The report contains the following recommendations for moving forward:
1. Define the terms "quality" and "nutritious" as they apply to food.
2. Support research that examines the relationship between quality food and health outcomes, especially in the long-term care context.
3. Review the Canada Food Guide; consider creating one specifically for older Canadians.
4. Review the current (published and unpublished) guidelines for menu planning within long-term care homes to better support the inclusion of fresh, local food.
5. Allow for more resident input into menu planning; ensure foods purchase reflected resident preferences.
6. Re-examine the per-patient the raw food budget for long-term care homes.
7. Audit current usage of local food within Ontario's long-term care homes.
8. Set targets for increased use of local food and track usage.
9. Increase awareness of local food initiatives and success stories within Ontario's long-term care sector.
This report was conducted by Anne Marie Males on behalf of My Sustainable Canada.
Local Food and Ontario’s Long-term Care Sector (2015): Opportunities, Barriers and Creative Approaches