A growing crop of locavores are going bananas for local food, proving they are what they eat.
Economic uncertainty has sprouted a movement toward keeping produce and profit in the Edmonton area, cultivating a crop of locals working together to keep each other fed.
“Knowing the farmers that grow my food can make a living is critically important. More of the money we’re spending on food can stay in our community,” said Jessie Radies, organizer of the Good Food Box Project, one of two recent initiatives to make eating local easier.
Radies feels scant distribution prevents people from eating home-grown, so the Good Food Box was born. Starting in July, boxes of mixed farm fresh produce will be dropped weekly on doorsteps.
Organizers will be dangling a carrot in front of this year’s recipients, running the pilot program for just six weeks. If successful, the initiative will last the entire growing season next year. Growers in the city’s rural north-east are shipping produce to Alberta Hospital for sorting. A portion of the food will also be grown by patients in the hospital’s garden.
“This is, hopefully, the beginning of a local distribution system,” Radies said.
Community rebuilding in Edmonton’s most notoriously dodgy area is an ongoing effort. The launch of a year-round fresh market at the Alberta Avenue Community League is one step closer to grassroots unity, organizer Christy Morin said. The Thursday market not only allows people in the area access to fresh produce, she said, but has a locally grown mandate.
The market will make 118 Avenue a destination point, she said.
“People come down to the Ave and see a definite change. A lot of negative influences are moving on,” she said. “It’s not a hope anymore, it’s becoming reality.”