Thought for food – Green Food program experiencing downturn

 

Proper nutrition through the inclusion of necessary fruits and vegetables in one’s daily diet, can often fall by the wayside in the hustle and bustle of daily life, with people all too often opting for less nutritious, convenience items.

For a few years, South Dundas has taken the lead role in helping make proper nutrition more convenient for its residents, by offing a green food program. 

The program makes it easy for residents to fill their fridges with fruits and vegetables, without having to take the time to shop for them.

“All you need to get started is $10 and an empty grocery bag,” says Ben Macpherson, recreation program coordinator for South Dundas, who administers the program.

“The green food bag program is for everyone,” he says.

“It’s $10, try it once,” encourages Macpherson. 

“If you don’t like it, there’s no commitment to continue, and if you do like it, it’s very easy to continue receiving the bag each month.”

Currently, the green food program is experiencing a downturn in usage.

“I have no idea why,” says Macpherson. “It’s such a simple and easy way to get a great value for you and your family.”

Last month, only 80 people participated in the green food program. 

Although Macpherson is used to seeing the numbers fluctuate a little from month to month this is the lowest it has been since its inception. 

The program has seen as many as 145 monthly users.

This recent downturn will not have an overall impact on the program. It will continue and the cost will remain the same $10. 

But, when more people use the program, everyone benefits from a greater value, and greater variety of produce, for their $10 contribution.

How to get started

• The first step is the hardest: Drop by either the South Dundas municipal office in Williamsburg or Community Living Dundas County, located on Allison Avenue, in Morrisburg. Tell them you want to order a green food bag and pay $10. If you order/pay before March 8, there will be a green food bag ready for you to pick up on March 20.

• Pick up day: On pick up day, which will be outlined on your order sheet, stop by the Morrisburg Arena anytime from 12:30-3:30 p.m. or 4:30-6:30 p.m. to pick up your green food bag. Take an empty shopping bag with you. When you pick up your green food, a volunteer is on hand to take orders/payments for those who wish to re-order for the next month.

How the program works

Once the order by date passes, Macpherson takes the money collected and a wholesale price list and decides what will be in the next food green food bag. 

“What I do is choose items that are the best prices for that month, so I’m stretching the dollar for everyone,” says Macpherson. 

“I try to include some staples every month, like potatoes and onions, because you can really do a lot with those. I start with the staples, and then I go from there with the dollars I have available. What I try to do is to provide a balance of fruits and vegetables each month.” 

“There’s a core group who have used this program since it started. They love it and they definitely recognize the value it provides,” says Macpherson. 

Most who use the program tend to be parents or seniors, but Macpherson stresses that the program is for everyone. “You can order as many bags as you want, it doesn’t matter who you are,” he says.

Some people have even organized themselves so that one person picks up several bags for them and their neighbours, to add to the convenience of the program.

Macpherson hopes that this valuable program will continue to grow and thrive for the value it provides the residents of South Dundas.

While Macpherson administers the program, there are many volunteers who offer their time to keep the program going. 

They pack the bags, oversee pick ups and orders and one, Neila Fowler, even donates the use of her truck on her day off to go and pick up the order from the warehouse.

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