More Local Food Coming to IWK

Patients and staff at IWK Health in Halifax can expect more local healthy vegetables, fruit, meat and fish on the menu as the hospital joins a provincial pilot program to increase long-term access to local foods.

“We are proud to add the IWK to the growing number of institutions embracing the buy-local philosophy. Buying food from Nova Scotian farmers helps our economy, our communities and the environment,” said Agriculture Minister Greg Morrow. “By serving food grown or made here at home, we can be confident in its quality and nutritional value. Helping hospitals put healthy, locally grown food on the menu just makes sense.”

The Department will work with the IWK over the course of the three-month project to identify and remove barriers that make it challenging to source local food.

The goal of the provincial pilot is to better understand how to encourage and support institutions, such as hospitals, to serve more local food products after the pilot ends.

IWK Health is working with its suppliers, including Gordon Food Service’s Atlantic division, based in Nova Scotia, to purchase local food ingredients.

A similar local food pilot project was announced in December 2022 at Northwood, Atlantic Canada’s largest seniors’ long-term care facility.

“IWK Health is pleased to partner with the Department of Agriculture on such an important project for Nova Scotia. The IWK prides itself on using local products throughout our menus as part of our patient and retail food services. This partnership will not only strengthen the IWK’s environmental sustainability strategy, but also supports our patients and families through food and nutrition. Simply put: Food is medicine.” 
— Mary Lynn VanTassel, acting Chief Operating Officer, IWK Health

“We take great pride in serving and contributing to our local communities. It is a pleasure to be partnered with the IWK and to deliver the local food items featured on their menus. Gordon Food Service continues to actively engage with local producers and manufacturers to broaden the range of local products available to our customers in Nova Scotia.” 
— Colin Brown, General Manager, Atlantic Region, Gordon Food Service

Quick Facts:
– the Department is providing $15,000 to help the IWK purchase local Nova Scotia foods to serve in its cafeteria and to patients
– this project supports the government’s mandate to increase local food consumption
– the government’s commitment to encouraging buying local products includes initiatives like Nova Scotia Loyal, led by the Department of Economic Development
– the program to encourage institutions such as public and post-secondary schools, hospitals and nursing homes to purchase and serve more local food was launched in 2022 and involves more than a dozen projects throughout the province

Additional Resources:
IWK Health:

News release – Government Funding Supports Local Food Production:

News release – More Local Food Coming to Northwood:

Buy Local directory:

Mandate letter for the Minister of Agriculture:

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