How would you invest $100 on healthy food for all?

223_mainLast Saturday at the Stone Soup Festival, we focused conversations about ending poverty-related malnutrition in Canada by displaying a few of the books we’re reading on good food systems.

We also asked folks stopping by where they would put their money if they had $100 to donate or spend somewhere on the continuum of community responses to food insecurity. Here are a few responses we heard:

I’d put my $100 on a community development project. The rest seem like they just address symptoms, not roots.
I don’t know. I never thought about how to feed a whole city.
Emergency relief of individuals. I have a friend who isn’t well enough sometimes to get out to food programs and cannot afford the shops around him.
I’d give it to an urban farm. I’m working with one, and its hard to get it to the stage where it can sustain itself.

There’s a place for champions at every point on the spectrum. But what happens to the system if too many resources are placed in certain areas and not enough in others?

Now it’s your turn. Tell us where you would spend $100 – and you don’t have to spend it all in one place.

Planted At The Stone Soup Festival: Seeding Change

217_mainThe concourse and courtyard of Brittania Community Centre on Commercial Drive tend to be busy every day, but it was particularly vibrant on Saturday, as more than twenty community food organizations and handmade natural artisans displayed their work at the eighteenth annual Stone Soup Festival. This year’s theme was urban farming. Planted’s co-leads Jonathan Bird and Karen Giesbrecht, together with new volunteer Danelle Kvalheim, enjoyed the fine weather and many conversations about seeding change in the food charity sector.

Where does your produce come from?

[A] Source: Community Gardens

Advantages:

Meet your neighbours, learn new skills, and grow your favorite fresh foods.
Organize a neighbour exchange, swapping your abundance for what someone else has

Disadvantages:

You’ll have to have access to a plot of land (there are often waitlists) and be ready to get some dirt under your fingernails.

Learn More: City of Vancouver Community Gardens

[B] Source: Community Shared Agriculture (CSA’s)

Advantages:

Shareholders purchase a share in the season’s harvest and receive a weekly basket of fresh, locally grown food.
Farmers are assured of an income at their time of highest expenses (early spring).
CSA’s are often social enterprises run by charities to provide income for their programs and participants.

Disadvantages:

You have to get to the garden or drop-spot at a scheduled time each week.
CSA’s often have an application process and wait-list.
Prices are comparable or more expensive than conventional grocery stores.

Learn More:

Yummy Yards
Farmers on 57th
Fresh Roots
Farm Folk, City Folk Knowledge Pantry
City Farms Co-Op

[C] Source: Farmers Markets

Advantages:

Fresh, seasonal, abundant food options, often sold directly by the farmers.

Disadvantages:

Prices are usually too high for someone on a fixed income.

Learn More:

Vancouver Farmers Markets
Urban Farm Society

[D] Source: Good Food Box Programs

Advantages:

Boxes of wholesome food are made available to those on a fixed income.
Bulk buying allows the group to get good prices for food.
Often focus on sustainably sourced food.

Disadvantages:

Rely on volunteer time to source and sort food, and distribute it to those enrolled in the program
Often limited to once/month delivery

Learn More: Kits Neighbourhood House Fruit & Veggie Deal

[E] Source: Specialty Markets or Produce Shops

Advantages:

More organic and local choices
Some are sourcing from social enterprises, allowing these to scale up significantly.

Disadvantages:

Can be more pricey than conventional markets

Learn More:

Norton Commons
Harvest Union

[F] Source: Urban Delivery

Advantages:

The most convenient option. Ordering and payments can be made online, and food is delivered to your door.

Disadvantages:

The most expensive option. Delivery charges are included in the price of the food, or on top of food, unless you order a certain amount.

Learn More:

SPUD
Now BC Buying Clubs

[G] Source: Conventional Supermarkets and Produce Shops

Advantages:

There are a lot of them around, and you can usually pick up other items on your grocery list there at the same time.

Disadvantages:

It isn’t always possible to know where that food comes from.
Cities like Vancouver have unexpected food deserts – neighbourhoods where food isn’t easily accessible

Learn More: Visit the market near you and ask questions