About 30 folks showed up at the YMCA of Cumberland County yesterday for the official launch of the Cost-Share CSA pilot project. The Cost-Share CSA aims to connect low-income families with healthy and affordable locally produced food. In partnership with the Ecology Action Centre, the YMCA of Cumberland and GoodLake Farm, the Cost-share CSA project is the first of its’ kind in Cumberland County, NS.
The Cost-Share CSA model will make seasonal veggie boxes available at half the cost (only $10/wk.), to individuals and families facing financial barriers. The other half is being raised through community donations. The Cost-Share CSA represents an innovative and dignified way of getting healthy, nutrient-dense food to our most vulnerable communities. Because low-income subscribers contribute half the cost of the food box, it is not a simple handout, but a way of empowering consumers, while helping to transform the traditional charitable food model.
According to Jessica Allen, Membership Services Manager with the Cumberland “Y”, the local food box program fits well with YMCA’s mission, which is to promote active living and healthy lifestyles. The YMCA is the main pick up location for the weekly veggie boxes and is also sponsoring six local families through their Strong Kids Campaign. The “Y” is also contributing administrative support for the project, such as by offering tax receipts to donors.
The project not only promotes healthy eating by attempting to improve access to fresh veggies, but also supports local food security and sustainable agriculture in the county. The number of active farms in Cumberland County has been on a steady decline over the past 30 years or so according to Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture statistics, so finding ways to better link communities to their local food suppliers will help ensure that our local growers will remain in business.
Local food projects help to make us less dependent on food that must travel long distances to reach us. This reduces our carbon footprint through decreased fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which is healthier for humans and for our overall environment!
The food boxes will be augmented with seasonal recipes and free food skills training opportunities, as an in-kind support from the local Health Authority, the Ecology Action Centre and GoodLake Farm.
For more information about GoodLake Farm and the Cost-Share CSA project see: http://www.goodlakefarm.com/
Above: Natasha from GoodLake Farm demonstrates the long distances our food travels to get to the grocery store.
Blog written by Su Morin, Ecology Action Centre’s Community Food Coordinator for Cumberland County, NS.