11/27/2012 03:26 EST | Updated 01/27/2013 05:12 EST

Adrian Dix: BC Hospital Food Should Be Locally-Grown

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - People often turn up their noses at the idea of "hospital food," but NDP leader Adrian Dix wants to change that in B.C.

He says the Fraser Health Authority should start buying locally-grown food to serve in area hospitals.

The NDP says the food would be fresher, more appetizing, would result in less pollution than imported goods and would help boost the local agricultural community.

Dix says B.C.'s Fraser Valley has some of the best agricultural land in the province, plus health facilities serving 1.6 million patients, but there's no formal relationship between the two.

He says the provincial government could be using its purchasing power to promote locally-grown food in Fraser Valley hospitals, since they neighbour parts of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The NDP says 33 other provinces and states, including Ontario, have policies for government-funded bodies to use their institutional buying power to support and promote locally grown and processed food.

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