By Amanda Rylott

For many low-income community members, maintaining a diet that is rich in fresh foods can be difficult. Processed foods have more calories per dollar than healthy foods, and therefore healthy foods can be out of reach for lower-income families. Unperishable food items are such an important part of food banks that the need for fresh foods is often overlooked or difficult to coordinate in these systems. Many food banks have come forward discussing the issues of unhealthy donations. Convenience foods, like canned food or packages, also allows people who may not have many amenities to continue to make meals. But, the provision of fresh foods should not be overlooked, especially when members use foodbanks on a long-term basis. The Good Food Box (GFB) tries to bridge this gap by making produce more accessible.

The Compass, partnered with FoodShare Toronto, provides space for community members to get a variety of produce at a lower price than a grocery store. Similar to community-supported agriculture, consumers sign up for the GFB beforehand and will collect their box of produce on the following Thursday. This program is open to both clients of The Compass and community members for a scaling price. Clients of The Compass pay $14 per box while community members pay $19. Community members who participate in GFB are subsidizing the box for clients and making healthy foods more affordable.

By branching out and provisioning different types of foods – both convenience and fresh – food banks can make balanced diets become more accessible. Through taking this approach, the GFB increases the food options for people living in low-income. The system of people being able to subsidize the boxes for others creates a sense of community and support. Healthy food accessibility should become a priority in communities to support its members and promote healthier lifestyles.

For more information on the Good Food Box click here.

Want some further information about the need for healthy food provisioning? Check out these other sources!


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