Good Food for You…In a Box
For many residents in the Bow Valley, the cost of living is impairing their ability to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. The Living Wage report from 2017 showed that the cost of standard food items in Canmore is approximately 5% higher than anywhere else in Alberta. The extra cost for staple foods, in addition to the gap between cost of living and average wage is resulting in food security1 issues for some individuals – in comes the need for the Good Food Box.
In partnership with other non-profit organizations across the Bow Valley (Town of Banff, M.D. of Bighorn, Bow Valley Food Alliance, ID No. 9 and Christmas Spirit Campaign), as of September 2019, the Good Food Box is available to residents across the Bow Valley – Lake Louise, Banff, Canmore, M.D. of Bighorn and Kananaskis. The Good Food Box is one of the services provided by the Calgary based Community Kitchen. This organization sources produce from farmers and suppliers. Volunteers coordinate food boxes and make them available at various depots across the city and in surrounding communities.
The Good Food Box is 20-25lb of fresh produce delivered monthly – including staples such as carrots, apples, potatoes, onions, plus a variety of other seasonal items.
In 2015, the Town of Banff introduced the Good Food Box to residents as a way of ensuring residents had access to more affordable vegetables and fruit on a monthly basis. Seeing the success of the Town of Banff's pilot, the Bow Valley PCN's Active Living Consultant and Registered Dietitian explored opportunities to extend the Good Food Box to all Bow Valley residents. Following a few conversations with community partners, with knowledge from Jill Harrison at the Town of Banff, the Good Food Box is now available across the Bow Valley. PCN Active Living Consultant Randi Lynn Rinaldi adds "Whether you are without a vehicle and living in Kananaskis or live in Canmore and need a more affordable option, the Good Food Box is available. Food insecurity is an issue we hear from many of our patients and we are delighted to have an option for them." As part of the research for this project, Randi completed a cost comparison between the box versus buying retail at two separate grocery stores in the Bow Valley. The contents of the Good Food Box cost $25 from Town of Banff and $52.72 and $52.81 at local grocery stores.
The largest pieces of the puzzle to get the Good Food Box to the various communities have been devising order details, understanding transportation costs and building a program that is sustainable. Rinaldi states, "When dealing with a partnership where multiple organizations are involved and each has their own mandates and guidelines to adhere to, it took a bit of time to get all of the pieces in place. I think we are at a place where we are happy to trial phase 2 of the project and see what develops." Rinaldi has some ideas for the expansion of the program but would like to see what happens naturally after the first few months. Both the Towns of Banff and Canmore have affordability programs and the Good Food Box is part of these programs thanks to a grant from the Christmas Spirit Campaign. The grant is used to offset the travel and transaction fees for the Good Food Box. This means that lower income individuals receive the box for $25. All other boxes are available for $30 (plus transaction fee where applicable).
1 having availability and access to food
Order and Pick Up Dates:
For up to date information regarding the Bow Valley Good Food Box, follow us on Facebook:@bowvalleygoodfoodbox
The Bow Valley Good Food Box is available in the following communities: Banff, Canmore, M.D. of Bighorn (Exshaw), Kananaskis and Lake Louise.
To order your Good Food Box, visit the following websites based on your desired pick up location:
Town of Banff101 Bear StreetWednesday 5-7 pm or Thursday 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
Bow Valley Primary Care Network107, 1205 Bow Valley Trail5 - 7 pm
Kananaskis Outfitters10 am – 5 pm (Thursday Pick Up)
Charleston Lobby6 – 9 p.m.
Exshaw Community Centre Kitchen5 - 7 pm