Throughout 2015, we developed relationships with six health care facilities where key personnel had indicated an interest in examining the potential of on-site food production. As we had discovered with our project partners, this was a process that required patience and flexibility, in order to incubate ideas and align motivations. All were at different phases of exploration, and with limited time and staff resources to commit to a formal feasibility assessment process. For most, the idea of a visioning session—where some combination of staff, administration, outside advisors, producers and community members discuss future potential—was more attractive than a formal feasibility assessment.
In 2016 we conducted visioning sessions with five institutions to further gauge the potential of on-site food growing projects and gain insights to expanding this approach. Issues discussed included identification of possible barriers and responses, development of information on models, building connections with local producers, and sharing resources. These sessions took place in:
- Toronto at the University Health Network (Toronto Rehab Institute, Lyndhurst)
- Cornwall at the Centre De Santé Communautaire De L’Estrie (Cornwall Community Hospital);
- Alexandria at Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital;
- Hanover at the Hanover District Hospital
- Ottawa, at The Ottawa Hospital
This report summarizes the results of the visioning sessions undertaken in 2016. We identify the initial interest from each facility, describe the location and proposed project at each site, and anticipate next steps for further development of the SOIL project at each location.