We recently announced a new local food partnership with the Guelph Food Bank as of the 2013 season to provide fresh vegetables to those in need. The Grow Local Sponsorship Program is funded through generous private donation, and will take place between May and the end of August each season. Produce received by food banks are traditionally, and unfortunately lacking in freshness, quality, and presentability. Backyard Bounty is eager to remedy this during this as we will be delivering (organic!) vegetables to the Guelph Food Bank on a weekly basis, with the hopes that we can contribute to an already outstanding job done by this community group.
To review some of the community benefits if this new partnership, we completed a literature review investigating the consumption of vegetables by Canadians relative to serving recommendations by Canada’s Food Guide, which revealed that only 35% of Canadians consume an appropriate amount of fruits and vegetables daily. This leaves 65% of the population vulnerable to chronic disease as a result of poor diet. For many people lack of vegetable consumption is a choice, however barriers do exist for those who are simply working with a more limited budget, and it is our hope that we can begin to address this through this project. We recognize that this is merely a small contribution, but hope it is a catalyst to a larger movement.
- Consuming adequate fruits and vegetables helps to prevent chronic diseases1, where the Canada Food Guide recommends 6-8
servings daily for adults. People who have low income, minorities, and single parents often have difficulty allocating funds to vegetable consumption, where caloric consumption overrides the need for proper nutrition. This partnership has allowed us to meet the needs of a small segment of the Guelph population, and it is our hope to continue to do so.
- The 1/2 Acre site located on Arkell road has been a popular destination for volunteers this spring and summer, as we have been joined by 10 unique volunteers who have generously offered their time to ensure the project is a success.
- Additionally, we were joined by a Grade 11 co-op student from a local high school, who spent 5 weeks learning the ins and outs of market gardening. She had this to say about her experience, “Thank you for the opportunities professionally and personally that working with you has provided me… I have learned the importance of listening to instructions, patience when it comes to how weather restricts our activities, in addition to the useful life skills that gardening vegetables offers”.
- The donation has allowed the Guelph Food Bank to increase the amount and variety of healthy nutritious food being distributed to our community.
- Clients have been very grateful for the colourful assortment of produce they are receiving along with their food hampers.
- New this year at the GFB is group cooking classes that will teach clients how to prepare and store the produce donated.
- We are hopeful that others will see the importance and impact of this donation and also consider supporting in this way.
1 Quadir, T., & Akhtar-Danesh, N. (2010). Fruit and Vegetable Intake In Canadian Ethnic Populations. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 71(1), 11–16. doi:10.3148/71.1.2010.11