Rancho celebrates its first Food Day

DOWNEY - Hundreds of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center patients and employees celebrated "Food Day" for the first time Wednesday with a food fair that combined good nutrition advice, seedlings for starting winter gardens, recipes using fresh produce, and live demonstrations on how easy it is to make the recipes. There was also a delicious lunch that was high in fruits and vegetables.Food Day is a national event promoting nutritious, unadulterated food that advocates home gardening, sustainability and ending hunger. "I don't know which axiom to use-'a match made in heaven' or 'the circle of life' of the vegetable world," said Sodexo Clinical Nutrition Manager Dori Smith, who is a leader of the Food and Nutrition Services at Rancho. The seedlings were provided by the Restorative therapeutic garden at Rancho. "Food and Nutrition Services provide compost for the garden, which is used as a tool for patient care," Dori said. "The garden is flourishing and the hopes are for it to 'grow' into a marketable enterprise by providing produce for a Farmer's Market at Rancho. As Rancho started off as a County Farm, one can see the 'circle' forming." "Food Day was just amazing!" said Rancho Occupational Therapist Monica Tognella, who worked with a team of Rancho clinicians and volunteers to organize the event. "The theme of the event was to inspire Rancho patients and staff to grow, prepare and eat real food," she said Volunteers conducted a garden sale, which featured "an awesome array of winter veggie seedlings our gardeners raised from seed," Monica said. "This team is a most inspiring and dedicated group who made a major contribution to success of this event. "There is no doubt this fair was a lot of work but I think we all agree that it was well worth it," Monica said. "I am so very grateful for the enthusiastic collaboration of all my colleagues whose tremendous support mad it a fabulous Food Day!"

********** Published: October 25, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 28