Golda Ewalt, M.S., R.D.
Golda Ewalt is a big proponent of easy-to-prepare foods made with fresh ingredients to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle. A registered dietitian/chef, Golda is the Director of Food and Nutrition Services at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. Golda has been recognized for her professional abilities, receiving awards for Young Dietitian of the Year; Forty Leaders Under Forty, and Chef of the Year from the Heart of Illinois Professional Chef Association. In 2017 she became a Certified Executive Chef from the American Culinary Association and in 2015 she received the Peoria WEEK 25 Women in Leadership award.
Midwest Regenerative Farm to Hospital Pilot: Locally Grown Oats Come to OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria.
"My goal is to serve the best tasting bowl of oats in Peoria!"--Golda Ewalt, Chef, Director of Food and Nutrition Services
We're talking about catalyzing a farm to food system vision for regenerating community health, wealth, resilience and well-being.
This segment of the Summit focuses on approaches to bring healthier food into local food systems.
In this interview, I am talking with Golda Ewalt, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. Golda is a dietitian/chef who is committed to improving access to fresh local foods in her community. With encouragement from Erin Meyer of Basil's Harvest and in partnership with Will Glazik of Cow Creek Farm and Harold Wilkin of Janie's Mill, Golda is bringing locally grown and rolled oats into dining services at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. The pilot project connects a regenerative farm with a hospital to provide markets for farmers seeking to transition to regenerative practices. The project is one of four pilots nationwide in partnership with Health Care Without Harm.
As a chef and dietitian, Golda is always looking for opportunities to utilize and connect people to healthy, fresh foods. She jumped at the idea of bringing locally grown and milled oats to patients. The hospital already uses over 4000 lbs of oats a year for oatmeal--served three meals a day. Oats are shelf stable and can be used in a variety of menu items.
She plans to work with the dietetic interns she supervises and the culinary staff to test the oats in recipes and find ways to incorporate oats in other dishes so that none of this special local grain will be wasted. As part of this initiative, Golda is also providing a hands on culinary nutrition program for University of Illinois College of Medicine medical students to learn about the health benefits of oats and discuss the community health benefits of local foods.
Golda shares why she thinks it's important for hospitals to include local foods in their purchasing--especially from farmers working to improve the health of their soil. For those interested in starting a similar program in their hospital, she advises starting small and learning from the process. For Golda, what is most important is that she can serve the most delicious bowl of oats in Peoria so that people all over the community will seek them out.
Please enjoy my conversation with Golda to learn how we can catalyze and support a regenerative farming and food system that works for everyone.
Don't forget, I’ve created a special Our Food Is Our Future Facebook Group where you can join the conversation and share your reflections, questions and ideas about creating a healthier farming and food system.
Here's to a healthier farming and food system for us all,