Kona Community Hospital upgrades Ginger Cafe
The Ginger Cafe menu at Kona Community Hospital is being upgraded to increase fresh ingredients grown in Hawaii, expand vegetable-forward dishes, and improve flavor for scratch-cooked meals.
The initiative is named Ai Pono, Hoomaka ana, meaning Eat Healthy, New Beginnings. The name, suggested by Marla Nora, a nurse at the hospital, reflects the meaning of “made from scratch.” The program takes whole ingredients as they come from the farm to make healthy, nutrient-dense meals.
Kona Community Hospital selected chef Greg Christian, founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, to lead the healthy food initiative.
“We chose Beyond Green Partners for their ability to impact the whole community,” said Judy Donovan, marketing and strategic planning director. Construction workers, county employees, and others come to dine at the Ginger Cafe.
Kona Community Hospital was recognized as the first hospital to become Blue Zones Project Approved on Hawaii Island in April of this year. Brought to Hawaii through an innovative sponsorship by HMSA, Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to lifestyle, environment, policy, and social networks.
Chef Christian believes “waking up the creativity among the kitchen staff and bringing healthy local food to the community makes sense and creates wins for everyone.” he said.