Local food campaign says “it isn’t over until we say it’s over”
Kingston residents filled Kingston City Hall last night for the first in a series of ‘think local’ public meetings as part of the community campaign focused on getting Kingston General Hospital (KGH) to develop a made-in-Kingston solution for patient food.
The groundswell of community opposition to the KGH deal with multi-national food giant Compass Corporation should have been heeded because the “sustainability of our community is at stake. We’re here to tell the hospital that theKingston food fight isn’t over until we say it’s over,” said Dianne Dowling with local chapter of the National Farmers Union (NFU), one of the community coalition partners which also include: People Who Care About Kingston, Campaign to Save the Prison Farms,Urban Gardeners of Kingston,Kingston & District Labour Council,Sisters of Providence and CUPE 1974.
Dowling and others including audience members were irked that KGH is purposely ignoring the fact that the local food campaign is a community driven initiative and categorizes the Kingston food fight campaign as a hospital union issue.
The coalition is now considering several legal options including whether the KGH food deal meets provincial criteria for outsourcing and will be asking Ontario’s health minister Deb Matthews to stay the contract until her ministry can review aspects of procurement process that may have been circumvented. A follow-up public meeting is also being planned for the new year.
Council of Canadians (COC) Chairperson, Maude Barlow, the keynote speaker at the public meeting, reminded the capacity crowd that the “decision to outsource these services flies in the face of all that we know about livable futures which will be built on local, sustainable food production and the creation of good local jobs.”
Dr. Edward Leyton, a resident in family medicine at KGH since 1975 and one of the guest speakers last night, called the KGH decision to outsource wrong-headed and stupid.
“The hospital has a moral obligation to feed patients well. The importance of good nutrition is already recognized in disease prevention, but it is even more important in a compromised patient who enters hospital most likely with a chronic disease caused by malnutrition itself,” said Leyton.
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For more information about the campaign, visit www.kingstonfoodfight.ca