Earth Day garden - We launched an Herban Veggie Garden on our patio connected to our cafeteria in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. We have about 15 planters of herbs and vegetables that we are able to harvest and use during our peak times. This initiative went along with our other sustainable efforts and will give our chefs great organic ingredients year-round.
Pretty and practical herb displays - We grow herbs in decorative containers indoors. We place the containers in retail or servery locations where customers can see the herbs being used in display cooking stations.
Get buy-in - In order to get buy-in for breakfast in the classroom, there is an incredible amount of planning done with stakeholders to ensure that we can show the value for this and to get their thoughts and see if we’ve missed anything.
Host a chef’s table with the president - We do a monthly “Lunch with the President.” Our president, Dr. Robert O. Davies, who started here last July, is very student-oriented. So we suggested this as a means of him connecting with students in a more informal setting. It’s a version of a chef’s table, with a maximum of 15 students. We post a link on our home page about two weeks prior to each event where students can go and sign up.
Farmers market recipes - We partnered with our produce company to offer farmers markets to the Northwest Community Healthcare region and employees during the summer months. We also showcase healthy weeknight recipes at the market, offer a “grocery list” of products available at the market and then invite everyone to a 30-minute cooking demo that afternoon in our cafeteria. This has created a real buzz around the hospital and is appreciated by our busy staff. (Their families appreciate the…
Healthy recipe contest - For National Nutrition Month, we ran a healthy salad recipe contest, asking students to submit their favorite salad recipe according to set healthy criteria. We selected the top three and prepared them. Then we asked the students to vote. The winner will be featured on menus in our retail operations and all-you-care-to-eat dining facilities.
Healthier environments - We just got a grant that will be for 1- to 5-year-olds so that we can work with the county health department to do some outreach at area supermarkets to help them market their healthier items. We’re going to give them an emblem or signage to mark those healthier items to make it easy to identify better-for-you options. It’s part of making the entire community a part of a healthy environment.
The "Wildcat" healthy plate - We have real, usable, full-size plates that we mix in with our regular plates to raise awareness of healthy dining balance. It is a consistent message that is delivered every day as part of the nutritional education component of our program.