We are aware of the health benefits of fresh, organic and locally grown vegetables. AZ Zeno is the first hospital in Belgium to buy quality vegetables from the pick-your-own farm Het Polderveld in Westkapelle, just a stone’s throw from the hospital campus. The farm reserves a plot of approximately one hectare exclusively for the hospital. The farm and the hospital have signed a structural agreement: the pre-paid harvest from the plot goes directly to the hospital kitchen. AZ Zeno and Het Polderveld jointly draw up a sowing plan. In consultation they estimate volumes, weights and the related cost in advance, and decide on harvesting periods. Het Polderveld has a guaranteed income even if a harvest is slightly disappointing, due, for example, to persistent drought. The cultivation plans take the hospital kitchen’s wishes into account. Conversely, the menus are adapted depending on the options offered by the land and the seasons.
AZ Zeno has been preparing around 1,200 fresh meals for hospital patients, residential care centres and nurseries in its professional kitchen for several years now. 15% of the vegetables the kitchen needs are purchased directly from the farmer. If AZ Zeno increases the share of organic vegetables it purchases directly to 50%, and if more professional kitchens in public institutions in Flanders follow the example of AZ Zeno, this would provide more opportunities for farmers to engage in direct partnerships with buyers and diversify their crops and sales channels.
AZ Zeno, CSA farm Westkapelle
care, management, food
cultural change, financing
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On the hospital menu: limousin with fennel pesto
The well-considered selection of fresh, locally grown vegetables, rich in fibre and vitamins such as iron, has a positive impact on the health of patients in the hospital.
photo: VTM Nieuws, 2021