Fresh Food Basket Program
One area of a food budget that is a struggle for many families, and maybe yours too, is finding a way to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially fresh varieties. We saw in how to spend your food dollars, that whatever you are spending on meats, and milk products, you also need to be spending on fruits and veggies. I agree, this can be a challenge. This is certainly true if you are trying to break away from dependency on your local Food Bank.
A Local Fresh Food Basket Program Was Born
In 2005, a few concerned citizens in our region, seeing a need to make fresh fruits and vegables more affordable, looked into doing something about it. One way is to do a large bulk ordering. The items end up costing less per item and in this way, these savings could then be passed on to the buyer, you.
For years, this group of dedicated VOLUNTEERS,
- spread the news,
- gathered the monthly money,
- placed the grocery orders,
- packaged up individual orders,
- and arranged central pick-up locations.
For a cost of $15 every month you were able to receive a bushel basket full of seasonal fruits and vegetables. This offer was open to EVERYONE IN OUR REGION.
Enter Local Government
As this program grew and the local Municipal Government could see its benefits to the Social Assistance Clients, the reins were turned over. It is now managed by the Municipal Government, but still utilizing the volunteers for gathering money and orders in their communities. This action has now allowed more smaller communities (villages) to be able to access it. In our region, the following communities can order these Fresh Food Baskets:
- Township of Georgian Bay
- Port Carling
- Baysville, and
- Walker’s Point
The cost of baskets has risen to $20 for a regular size and $25 for a Family Sized basket. The Family Sized baskets contain a few more fruit items. You can access the complete order drop off information and the pick-up day and location information at the District of Muskoka link here.
This is open to everyone, no matter their income. So once a month you place an order and about 9 days later you pick up your fresh fruit and vegetables. Barry and I utilized the services for several years.
Benefits of a Fresh Food Basket Program
The Fresh Food Basket Program assists communities to:
- join forces as a collective group and buy in bulk quantities, thereby reducing the cost to everyone. This increases the amount of food in homes.
- allows an opportunity to purchase product from local community farmers or companies, such as “Beat The Wheat” which specializes in gluten free products.
- Provides opportunities to try new foods
- Recipe sharing opportunities, such as the inclusion of the Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs Cookbook already in several of these communities.
More than 300 families throughout our region participate every month. And there is always room for new people to join. Remember, the more people ordering, the cheaper the cost of the food, which means more buying power, resulting in more items in the basket every month.
So if you struggle with including fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals and budget, trying a program such as this might be the place to start. To help EMPOWER you towards a HOPE and a FUTURE, and fresh fruits and vegetables in your home. It is an affordable, healthy way to provide you with fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables year-round. Items in the baskets offer variety by changing from month to month as different items become seasonably available.
What Does A Fresh Food Basket Contain?
This shows a sampling of what the Fresh Food Basket contents were in a one month time period in our region. An example of the $25 Family Sized basket. Keep in mind that contents do change from month, as well as seasonally.
1 lb Strawberries
3 lb Royal Gala Apples
1 bunch Parsley
8 oz Mushrooms
1 Red Onion
2 lb Yellow Onions
1 Red Pepper
12 oz Baby Carrots
So Join A Fresh Food Basket Program Today
Is there a Fresh Food Basket Program or similar available in your community? If so, why not investigate it and see how to join.
However, if you discover that this is a gap in your community, why not start one. Just like the one in our community was started by a group of 3 women, you too can make a positive difference in your community.