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Martinsburg VA Medical Center

 

Fresh Ideas in Action

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Nutrition and Food Service worker Mackey Bonner prepares fresh lettuce for the patient salad bar. Photo: VA/Kathryn Morris.

Nutrition and Food Service worker Mackey Bonner prepares fresh lettuce for the patient salad bar. Photo: VA/Kathryn Morris.

By Kathryn G. Morris
Thursday, April 12, 2012

The medical center’s Nutrition and Food Service (NFS) was recently included in the “Fresh Ideas In Action” series by the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition and Beauty Mountain Studios.  The video highlighted the medical center’s effort to incorporate local food items into patient meals.  “Having good food, having good nutrition, is key to prevention,” said NFS Chief Barbara Hartman.

Going local is not only healthier, but more cost efficient.  Within the first year, the NFS kitchen waste reduction program saved $40,000, which later financed special menus for holidays and events.  Patient and staff taste panels have shown that meals featuring locally grown food taste better.  “Veterans compare us to other VAs they’ve eaten at and they say we have the best food,” said food service worker Mackey Bonner.  “Matter of fact, a lot of them want to transfer their treatment due to the food we serve.”

The success of the NFS green initiative is due in part to the support of staff.  “They enjoy knowing they are doing something for our local economy,” said Hartman.  “They enjoy knowing they are supporting our local farmers and that we’re helping to save resources for our children and grandchildren.”

Click here to watch the video.