Christiana Care’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes local, sustainable food

Christiana Care’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes local, sustainable food

ed kwiatkowski
Cook Edward Kwiatkowski prepares a beef dish for patients at Christiana Hospital. Christiana Care purchases hormone-free, antibiotic-free beef from a ranch that uses sustainable and ethical farming practices, as part of a commitment to good environmental stewardship.

Every week, Christiana Care health and nutrition staff prepare and serve more than 320 pounds of beef to patients. At 3 ounces per serving and an average four-day length of stay, this means we are serving beef to more than 425 patients (39 percent of all patients staying in our hospitals) each week. We also procure and prepare more than 3,500 sustainably produced eggs each week. Thanks to nutrition services manager Mike Frawley, “the beef we buy and prepare is good for the environment and great for patients.”

Christiana Care purchases beef from a ranch where cattle are naturally raised on large plains. They are raised using sustainable methods (fewer pesticides, antibiotics and hormones) and ethically treated. Consequently, patients receive beef that is antibiotic- and hormone-free, and which leaves little impact on the environment.

Nutrition Services only purchases eggs from cage-free chicken farms. Often bought locally, these eggs are ethically and sustainably produced.

Christiana Care has been methodically implementing a plan — prescribed by the Healthy Food in Health Care pledge (a national program of Healthcare without Harm) we signed in August 2008 — to do the following:

  • Increase the amount of minimally-processed, nutritious fruit and vegetables offered to patients and staff.
  • Identify vendors that can provide us with food that is free of toxic pesticides, hormones and non-therapeutic antibiotics.
  • Procure more locally-produced fresh food.

To that end, Christiana Care buys as much local produce as possible, reducing the travel time and distance and hence the carbon footprint. Delmarva peninsula farms provide Christiana Care with mushrooms, blueberries, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, apples and more. Christiana Care’s Nutrition Services department even grows a garden at Christiana Hospital to support its commitment to fresh, safe and delicious food.