Conservation organization launches ‘food boxes’ for northern Vancouver Island communities

·2 min read

Campbell River based conservation organization, Greenways Land Trust, is initiating the Strathcona Good Food Box program for six North Vancouver Island communities to make fresh fruits and vegetables easily accessible.

The food distribution program, in its preliminary stages, is aimed at increasing food security in remote places, said Katherine Lavoie, the Good Food Box and conservation projects coordinator at Greenways Land Trust.

“Our goal is to make fresh and healthy food physically and financially accessible to north Vancouver Island communities,” said Lavoie.

Greenways received $50,000 from the Central and Northern Vancouver Island United Way to be used for the distribution program set-up, operation and to provide subsidized boxes for those in need.

Community members can place an order and produce will be bought in bulk from wholesalers and transported to residents of Zeballos, Tahsis, Gold River, Campbell River, Kyuquot and Tahsis once a week.

Many of these communities get their groceries from cities like Campbell River which is a two to three hour drive, so transporting the produce to them will reduce the cost of travelling for residents, said Lavoie.

They are looking at sustainable travel options to places like Kyuquot which is inaccessible by road. Lavoie will be looking at freight vessels like the MV Uchuck III to deliver the boxes in Nootka Sound areas and refrigerated trailers for Zeballos deliveries.

“The program is environment friendly and also helps reduce carbon footprint as transportation will be minimized,” said Lavoie.

Along with reduced travel costs, buying directly from wholesalers will reduce the cost of fruits and vegetables by 30- 50 per cent, she said.

The program will also look at including local produce from farmers in Sayward next spring.

In addition, Greenways is looking at incorporating fruit from their Campbell River ‘fruit tree project’ that collected more than 3,200 lbs of fruit this year, in to the boxes.

Starting next week, Sysco Canada will be delivering food boxes in Gold River. Community coordinators will take orders, process payments and liaise with residents to deliver the boxes.

Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror