Our local food system is impacting health outcomes
Maple Wind has become an integral part of our local food system as demonstrated by a key local wholesale partnership with the University of Vermont Medical Center for the last 8 years.
Each season, we sit down with the dynamic team of Scott Young, the purchaser, Diane Imrie, the Director of Nutrition Services, and the Executive Chef Leah Pryer. At this meeting we decide on the chicken production needs for the coming year and set the price and finalize any pre purchase agreement. They commit to using the whole chicken (less the hearts and livers) in their cafe food offerings. It’s a great time to connect and revisit our shared commitment to local food and the benefits of our nutrient dense product. The Medical Center not only serves our chicken in their cafes to the public but uses the chicken backs to make the most nutritious broth to serve to their patients.
For the last several years, we have committed to 3,600 chickens per year from our farm delivered over the course of the following year. That's over 15,000 pounds of pasture raised poultry per year!
Leah, Scott, Bruce and Beth in front of the sign at the entrance of the cafe highlighting over 60 area farms they partner with!
Diane Imrie is one of the pioneers in bringing sustainability issues to the fore front in the healthcare foodservice segment. Her initiatives at the University of Vermont Medical Center was one of the first to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care (HFHC) pledge back in 2006, and today it remains one of the leading programs in the segment at meeting HFHC’s goals. “I’ve always been interested in the food and health relationship,” Imrie offers. “Then I began learning about the environmental impact and other things that come along with our food, as well as the health impact, and I thought, ‘We have a real opportunity to change how things are done.’”
Another amazing partnership involves another local food producer, Joe's Kitchen at Screaming Ridge Farm in Montpelier Vermont. The Medical Center is challenged by time and labor to make broth from all the chicken backs and Joe is up to the task and has the production facility to do so! He and his staff turn our raw chicken frames from the whole birds the hospital buys into nutritious broth in large bags that a commercial facility can more easily dispense to patients.
The UVM Medical Center goes above and beyond to make connections and offer the best food to their customers and patients and we are honored to be a part of the food system with such an organization that shares our mission of health in our community.
This team takes to heart the following quote: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” This famous quote is often attributed to Hippocrates.