A new program has come to Strathmore that’s meant to help encourage healthy eating while making it an affordable option. The Community Kitchens Program of Calgary, in conjunction with Strathmore FCSS and Wheatland FCSS, has brought the Good Food Box program to the area.
“We have programs all over Strathmore on healthy eating and all the TV shows, everywhere you go everyone is talking about healthy eating, healthy kids and yet our produce is so expensive. So this is one way to help families eat healthy and have it be affordable for them as well. That’s why we wanted to bring this program to Strathmore,” said Dahrlyne Knaus, FCSS programmer.
“This was our first time placing an order. We got 29 orders for the boxes which was very exciting, I was hopeful we would get 10. We already have eight orders for our next order, so that’s fabulous.”
The boxes can be purchased in three different sizes, small, which is $20 for 25-30lbs of food, medium for $25 and is 35-40lbs of food, or large which is 45-50lbs for $30. Each box contains the same main staples, potatoes, carrots, onion, apples and oranges, and then is filled with whatever other fruits and vegetables available at the best price that week.
The program is available to anyone who is interested in taking part, with no cutoff on how many people can order each time. If some people need two boxes, that’s also an option, though courtesy would be to not order more than what you would need.
The program is made possible because Community Kitchens’ bypass retailers, going strictly to the importers and the produce handlers in the province, said Marilyn Gunn, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Community Kitchens of Calgary. The Produce Marketing Association then helps them get in touch with the different suppliers.
“We started it because the first thing people leave out of their grocery order when they’re struggling financially is usually produce,” said Gunn.
She had first found out about the program being run in Toronto and in ’99 she flew down to find out more.
That year Calgary’s first Good Food Boxes were delivered.
A route has been set up for the program and will see boxes delivered to Chestermere, Strathmore, and Wheatland County and soon to Siksika.
“Once you set up a route and you’re on the road you want to reach as many people as you can because you know there is issues in trying to get fresh produce, especially with the cost right now, its raised so high, its very difficult, especially in the rural areas it gets even costlier because of transportation,” said Gunn.
Community Kitchens also does a monthly comparison at the supermarkets in Calgary, and each week when shopping for their produce they also do a cost comparison with the suppliers to ensure they always get the best prices.
There are only a few more delivery dates available for the 2014 calendar, and orders must be placed and paid for approximately 10 days prior to delivery. Remaining times and pick up dates can be found on Page 4 in the Town of Strathmore ad, or by calling either Strathmore FCSS, 403-934-9090 or Wheatland FCSS at 403-934-5335. The program starts again in January, with the dates to be determined.