Farm Program Promotes Healthy Foods In Aitkin Hospital
A local hospital in Aitkin offers healthier food options by receiving food from local farmers to serve farm fresh meals to patients, visitors and staff.
The Riverwood Healthcare Center and its Farm2Riverwood program is designed to improve health and nutrition for the community by counting on local farmers to grow healthy, local foods.
Once a month the Riverwood’s Food Service team prepares the meals. For example, a recent meal included ham from one farmer, potatoes from another, whole wheat rolls with locally ground wheat and apples from a local orchard.
“Healthy food is an economic driver for our communities,” says Lou Ann Carlson, food services manager at Riverwood. “When it comes to buying our local food, we love being able to support our local farmers, and our local economy. This partnership is a win-win-win for our hospital, the patients and staff members who eat the Farm2Riverwood meals, and for the local farmers who provide the food.”
Riverwood, along with Rippleside Elementary School and Hill City School District, is contracting with eight Aitkin County farmers to offer nutrient-dense, minimally processed, farm fresh foods such as potatoes, eggs, chicken, beef and apples for special monthly meals for its staff and hospital patients for the 2016-2017 year.
Riverwood also ranked in the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) nationwide. The rating system evaluates rural and critical access hospitals based upon various market, value-based and financial measures.