A partnership between the Tsilqhot’in National Government and Interior Health (IH) has resulted in traditional Indigenous meals being served once a week every Thursday at lunchtime at Deni House in Williams Lake.

Tsilhqot’in elders worked with Interior Health to develop recipes and menu items over a couple of days in order to launch the Forest to Fork pilot project last month.

“It’s going great. I think we’re through six weeks now and today will be our seventh,” said Andrew Pattison, IH Corporate Director of Support Services.

“It’s been very well received. We measure that partly by who’s selecting the food, and I think after our first four-week review in the first week all but two residents at Deni House were choosing the traditional feed that was being offered.”

The project will run for six months where after it will be reviewed to determine if Interior Health can start to start to roll it out within other IH regions. The ultimate goal is to provide Indigenous menu options for any individual at a health care facility in Williams Lake.

“This is the first for us in Interior Health and I believe it might be the first in the province,” Pattison said.

“It’s a partnership and we couldn’t have done it without collaborating with the First Nation’s Health Authority, Chilcotin Nation, and their food services team up there. It’s a passionate bunch and it’s really cool to come together, and ultimately we’re doing it for the residents. It’s been well received and I can’t wait to see what our lessons learned are and how we can expand it.”

With tomorrow (Friday) being National Indigenous Peoples Day Pattison added that IH cafeterias operated through their food services team will all be offering a traditional inspired meal for their lunch service that will be available at some facilities for patients and residents.