Greenways Land Trust’s Good Food Box program is even more local now that they have partnered up with the Comox Valley-based LUSH Valley.
“It adds a bit of a refresher to the Good Food Box program,” said Greenways Outreach and Food Security Coordinator Callie Bouchard. “(LUSH sources) as much of their products as they can from local farmers in the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island. This kind of helps reduce our footprint by our produce not having to travel as far and not having to use such large carriers to get the veggies to us, which is really great.
“This also helps promote our own food security by supporting local farmers and the local food economy in the Comox Valley and Campbell River areas as well,” she said.
How it works is this: LUSH Valley provides the food, which is sourced from local producers and can include things like fruits, vegetables, eggs and more. The food is then transported up to Campbell River by a volunteer and is made ready for pick up for subscribers. This program also allows Greenways to offer two different sizes of boxes, and to offer subsidized boxes for families who need it.
“There are no extra hoops that need to be gone through, you just have to select that option on the order form,” Bouchard said. “The limit is one subsidized box per household.”
Though there is a subsidized option, Bouchard said that the program is more like a Community Supported Agriculture program rather than a Food Bank hamper system.
“We have had a lot of questions lately with people emailing me, saying that they don’t really want to take part in the program because they’re worried about taking away from people that need it,” she said. “The Good Food Box program is actually available to anyone within the Campbell River Community that would like to participate in it. Purchase of full-price food boxes actually goes towards being able to continue to provide subsidized boxes to people that do need to take advantage of that.
“The more the merrier.”
The Good Food Box program is available in other Strathcona region communities, but at the moment the LUSH Valley partnership is only for Campbell River.
One issue with local produce is that production tends to drop off in the winter months. However, LUSH Valley does have a bit of a longer reach for produce in the off season.
“In the winter months, they do try their best to source as locally as possible, but things kind of get a bit harder to come by and farms are a bit more dormant,” Bouchard said. “There will be things that are from not-as-local, maybe off-island. For the most part, they do their best to get all these products from local farms.”
Locally-grown food has a certain special quality to it, Bouchard said, and since the program’s launch in June people have noticed the difference.
“People can see which farms they come from, they’re all labelled with their little individual farm labels, which is exciting for people to actually see where it came from,” she said. “They’re all packaged really nicely, they’re in egg cartons, the blueberries are in nice boxes. There’s something about when your produce shows up and it still has some farm soil on it. It’s not dirty, it’s just fresh produce.”
To sign up, visit www.greenwaystrust.ca/projects/strathcona-good-food-box-program. Large boxes cost $30, or $21 for subsidized pricing. The smaller boxes cost $20, or $14 for the subsidized price.