Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Good Food Box’

Affordable, healthy food at Ottawa’s Good Food Markets

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Photo: Ottawa Good Food Markets/Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centre’s Anti-Poverty Project.

Guest post by Denise Deby. Denise blogs at Green Living Ottawa and writes on social and environmental issues (http://denisedeby.com. Her articles have appeared in publications such as Alternatives Journal (A\J), This Magazine, Ottawa Citizen and rabble.ca

 

If you enjoy shopping at local food markets but don’t have one near you, or if cost is an issue, you might want to check out the Ottawa Good Food Markets.

The Good Food Markets are bringing healthy food to several Ottawa neighbourhoods this summer, offering fresh produce and staples in locations that don’t have farmers’ markets or food stores nearby. What’s more, the markets sell food at wholesale prices to keep it affordable.

Who’s behind the Good Food Markets?

Several organizations in Ottawa have come together to form the Poverty and Hunger Working Group. Coordinated by the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, their aim is to improve food security – that is, to help ensure that people in Ottawa have access to healthy, affordable food.

Kaitrin Doll, the Coalition’s anti-poverty community engagement worker, says the Good Food Markets are a tangible way to do this. ‘‘We wanted to focus on implementable projects that will make a difference for our community,” she explains.

Partners include the Ottawa Good Food Box, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, Just Food, the City of Ottawa’s Community and Social Services Department, Ottawa Public Health, community health and resource centres and others.

What’s available at the Good Food Markets?

The markets offer fruits and vegetables, grains such as rice or couscous, legumes, dried fruit and nuts. A local community health, resource centre or group organizes each market, and decides what to stock based on community interest. While the aim is to provide as much locally grown food as possible, keeping prices down and providing imported favourites are also priorities.

The Ottawa Good Food Box orders the produce from food wholesalers and local farmers who provide items for its Good Food Box program (a non-profit initiative that brings people together to buy fresh produce at wholesale prices). The Social Planning Council of Ottawa, which runs a community food pantry, sources dried goods.

The Good Food Markets are also a hub for music, entertainment and kids’ activities, and Ottawa Public Health community food advisors are on hand to provide food samples and recipes. Doll says that the markets aim to promote community engagement as well as healthy eating, and so far, it’s working. In a survey of 220 market-goers last year, most said they were very satisfied and wanted to see it more often, with many noting its nutritional and community benefits.

When and where are the markets?

Offered as a pilot project in four sites last year, the Good Food Markets are expanding to six locations in 2013:

  • Strathcona Heights: 731A Chapel St. at Wiggins Private (Sandy Hill Community Health Centre) June 22, July 20, August 31
  • Michele Heights: 2955 Michele Dr. off Carling Avenue (Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre), June 30
  • Rochester Heights 299 Rochester St. near Somerset West (Somerset West Community Health Centre) June 15 at Laroche Park in Mechanicsville; June 20 and July 20 in Rochester Heights
  • Centretown: Bronson and Laurier (Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden) July 13, August 10, September 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Overbrook: east of Vanier Parkway (Rideau Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre) June 15, July 6, August 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Parkwood Hills: 76 Inverness Ave. near Meadowlands (Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre and South Nepean Community Health Centre) June 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

See the Good Food Markets Facebook page for updates.

Who are the Good Food Markets for?

Everyone is welcome, to drop by, shop or volunteer. “We’re open to ideas and collaborations,” adds Doll.

Will you be checking out the Ottawa Good Food Markets?

Best places to find local sustainable food

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Whether you buy it from a farm or a small food business, sample it in a restaurant or to grow it yourself, there are many ways to enjoy local, sustainably produced food in Ottawa. What works for you will depend on your needs and budget, as well as the amount of time you have. Here are some options.

1.  Visit a farmers market: The Byward Market may be one of the oldest and largest in Canada, but there are many other farmers markets that serve the region (typically from May to October).  Besides fresh produce and locally raised meats, you’ll often find preserves, baked goods, flowers and crafts. Ask vendors if the food they’re selling was grown in the area and whether it’s chemical-free. For the market nearest you, consult Just Food’s Buy Local Food Guide or Farmers Markets Ontario.

2.  Join a CSA. When you subscribe to a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) farm, you pay a flat rate for a share of what it produces that season. In return, you collect a weekly basket of fresh-picked produce from the farm gate or a drop-off spot. You also have the chance to visit the farm, get to know the farmer who grows your food and meet other CSA members. The farmer benefits by knowing how much he or she must produce and by having the money to grow it at the start of the season. Visit Just Food for a list of area CSA farms.

3.  Buy at the farm gate (or on-farm store if there is one) or PYO: If a farmer in your area grows for the local market, ask if you can buy from their farm.  Pick-your-own (PYO) operations are also available throughout the region.

4.  Grow your own. There’s nothing more satisfying than growing – and eatingyour own food and you don’t need much space to do it in. Raise herbs and veggies in traditional containers or use structures that allow you to grow up vertical surfaces like walls or railings.

5.  Join a community garden. A community garden is a piece of land worked collectively by a group of residents. Just Food lists new and existing gardens across Ottawa, and provides support that includes workshops on organic vegetable gardening, food preservation, and starting your own community garden.

6.  Buy from businesses that sell or use local foods. Savour Ottawa lists restaurants, caterers, hotels, B&Bs, retailers and microprocessors in the region who source a certain percentage of food from local producers. In addition, some local products, such as Heavenly Honey and Hummingbird Chocolate, are available from Foodiepages.ca, an online storefront that features products from artisanal food businesses across Canada.

7.  Sign up with Ottawa’s Good Food Box program. The Ottawa Good Food Box is a non-profit, community-based program that distributes fresh fruit and vegetables, at wholesale prices, to people who may not have access to them for income, health, or other reasons.  Operating as a community buying club, the Good Food Box purchases items in season and grown as close to home as possible.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy local sustainable food in Ottawa?