fresh-advantageMarydale DeBor, Founder/Managing Director of Fresh Advantage LLC
Serves as Director of Food Programs for Singer/Songwriter Mary McBride’s international “THE HOME TOUR” www.thehometour.org. which the Wall Street Journal described as “a way of highlighting how communities can be nurtured, whether by sharing shelter, stories or live music.”

kale salad, keren.kids 2Last December, THE HOME TOUR-CONNECTICUT visited 16 venues in ten days, including Veterans Administration Hospitals, state mental health centers and supported housing communities. At Quinnipiac Terrace in New Haven, staff from CitySeed, (the organization that runs New Haven’s farmers markets) made kale salad with families and it was a fantastic hit! Cityseed’s mission is to engage the community in growing an equitable, local food system that promotes economic development, community development and sustainable agriculture. They aim to create a sustainable model of local economy, urban community, regional agriculture, environmental stewardship, and well-being through food.

CitySeed.-kale-saladFresh Advantage® also consulted with the executive team at Hudson Valley Hospital Center, a nonprofit community hospital located in southeast New York, that recognized the critical importance of nutrition and food service operations in health care practice. The executive team also understood the need for hospitals to take a primary role in the management of population health in their local communities.

The CEO’s vision embraced not only the provision of wholesome meals to patients, employees, and visitors, but also robust food learning programs for specific patient populations and the community at large. He wanted a demonstration kitchen, an on-campus farmers’ market, and locations in the community served by the hospital.

The first step in achieving this expansive vision was selecting a suitable vendor. After thoroughly assessing the hospital’s nutrition and food service operation, FA managed a comprehensive vendor selection process that included:
-A survey of vendors to identify the candidates best qualified to meet the hospital’s objectives
-Informational interviews and site visits with selected vendors
-Preparation of a detailed RFP setting forth the hospital CEO’s vision, holistic patient care philosophy, and performance specifications, including:
-Commitment to sustainability and local and regional procurement.
-Full integration of nutrition and food services into the hospital’s clinical service lines, public education initiatives, and disease prevention and management programs.
-Preparation and management of in-depth site visits by vendors invited to bid on the RFP.
-Review and scoring of proposals.
-Coordination of final presentations by vendors.
-Contract negotiation support.
-Recommendations for opportunities for the hospital to participate in national initiatives to improve food and nutrition services in hospitals.

The hospital’s final choice was a vendor uniquely capable of meeting its expectations and with a compatible culture. The selected vendor, a relatively new entrant in the field of hospital food and nutrition services, was not known to the hospital before FA recommended that they be invited to bid.