On October 14, Fresh Advantage’s Managing Director Marydale DeBor, partner Chef Anne Gallagher, and Fresh Advantage affiliate nutritionist Francine Blinten enjoyed “Tea” (a longstanding Yale tradition) with the next crop of eager healthy-food champions on campus at Pierson College. This Fresh Advantage trio was delighted to be the first special guests in the Yale Sustainable Food Program’s 2015–16 speaker series “Women of Food.” The afternoon’s theme was “Women Addressing Food in Healthcare.”
How they can help fix our health and food systems
At the National Farmers Union convention this spring, a roomful of farmers listened attentively to Marydale DeBor, who was pitching a new idea.
“I am looking for you to be doctors to the world,” she said. A board member of the New England Farmers Union and delegate to the convention, DeBor has a vision for food’s role in health care: “Food is Primary Care.” It’s the tagline for her consulting company, Fresh Advantage (www.freshadvantage.com), which works with institutions nationwide to create health-driven and mission-aligned food service operations.
Indeed, good nutrition can help address many of our nation’s health challenges. A root cause of our poor health is a food system gone wrong: ubiquitous processed food laden with excess salt, sugar and fat, along with inadequate access to healthy food for many. Poor diet contributes to public health problems of obesity and related chronic diseases – diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
As they strive to prove they are benefiting communities under the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals may become the latest battleground between fast-food purveyors and advocates of healthy—and preferably locally produced—cuisine.
“I am looking for opportunities for you to be the doctors to the world,” said Marydale DeBor, a former Connecticut hospital executive, at the convention for the National Farmers Union last month in Springfield, Mass.
Hospitals have long been a culinary joke, serving unappetizing food of questionable nutritional value to patients while selling fast food that is even more questionable in their cafeterias. Medical-school critics have chastised physicians for prescribing to patients costly drugs to deal with the effects of diseases that arise from bad diets and lack of exercise rather than feeding them healthy food and teaching them to eat better when they leave the hospital.
VIDEO & PODCAST LIBRARY
Recovery is Cooking
From Connecticut Mental Health Center
Plow to Plate
Before Fresh Advantage, Marydale co-founded Plow to Plate. Hear about their successes on All Things Connecticut
Prescribing Food, Part 1: Making Hospitals Healthier
From Heritage Radio Network
Women Addressing Food In Healthcare
From the Yale Sustainable Food Project Podcast