Mississauga residents find a solution to the problem of skyrocketing produce prices through Eden Food for Change’s Fresh Produce Box program.
In January 2014, the program officially launched as a way for people of all income levels to access fresh produce. Immediately, the number of orders steadily rose amongst a variety of groups in Mississauga.
In the last few weeks, with this recent rise in prices for fruits and vegetables, Eden Food for Change (EFFC) has seen their orders increase by almost 40%. In December 2015 there were 135 small boxes and 151 large boxes ordered. Within a month there were 202 small boxes and 237 large boxes ordered by people looking for a solution to the dramatic increase of produce seen at grocery stores.
“Our goal is to provide more good food for more people,” says EFFC’s Executive Director Bill Crawford. “Food that is financially cheap is often nutritionally cheap so we started this program to help give people struggling financially the option of healthy food at a more affordable rate than they would normally find.”
Food prices at the Ontario Food Terminal, where EFFC purchases the produce for their boxes, have by 36% in the last year. However, with a more concerted effort for price comparison and negotiations with food vendors, the organization has managed to maintain the same number of items in their Fresh Produce Boxes as last year.
Participants can expect around eight items in a $10 box with a $20 box providing an increased quantity of the same items, plus an additional two or three more items such as green beans and cauliflower.
“Many people think this is a fundraiser for our organization, but it isn’t. We only take 10% to cover our costs,” explains Crawford. “We also make sure that we only buy for the number of people that have ordered that week to ensure cost-efficiency.”
The program is open to anyone who is able to pick up their order at one of the six western Mississauga pick-up locations. Interested participants simply place their orders online at www.edenffc.org/fresh-oroduce-box by 4 pm on Thursdays.
Contents for the boxes are purchased early on Friday mornings and then assembled by a team of volunteers with the boxes ready for distribution by Friday afternoon. The contents of the box can vary slightly from week to week, but a greater variety is seen during the local growing season.
Eden Food for Change has been serving hungry families in western Mississauga for 25 years. The organization serves people through its two Food Bank locations, its Learning Kitchen and Fresh Produce Box program and has a vision of Good Food For All!