It was 2013, following the purchase of our first refrigerated truck, when the pilot project for the Fresh Produce Box began. A year later, the program was offered to the general public and it took off. Over the years, Eden Food for Change has distributed over 70,000 produce boxes and the program has donated more than 100,000 pounds of excess produce to our food bank to be given to the food insecure individuals and families living in western Mississauga.
When we started the program, we created a cost-effective way to provide high-quality fresh produce to the community. We distributed boxes from senior’s community living centres, various local schools, the Polycultural Immigrant Centre, Good Food Brampton and nearby community church centres, as well as our offices on Unity Drive, all with the purpose of getting more fruit and vegetables into the mouths of people living in the region of Peel.
Over the past couple of years, convenient access to veggies and fruit has increased in our community with home delivery programs and on-line ordering for pick-up at local stores. Demand for our program has slowly dwindled from a peak high of 1,034 boxes in a week to now just under 100 boxes over the same period. Our customer satisfaction has remained high with 80% of our survey respondents reporting that they eat more vegetables because of the program and program satisfaction was over 90%. Convenience and broader choices were factors for choosing new local commercial shopping programs and has made using Eden Food for Change’s program less advantages in today’s busy times.
Eden Food for Change continues to be a leader in the community in the areas of food access, food skills development, and community engagement. However, November 29th will be our last day of distributing our Fresh Produce Box program to the community.
Operating the Fresh Produce Box program has been a privilege for us to serve the community and we will miss everyone’s participation. Thank you so much for your support--it has given us great purpose and opened up many new doors and relationships. I want to say thank you to all the amazing volunteers who helped and developed the program over the years without them the program would not have existed. You are the heart of the program and the reason for the high degree of customer satisfaction.
On behalf of the Eden Food for Change board, our volunteers, EFFC staff, and myself,
Thank you and thank you for your continued support,
Fresh Produce Box Program Manager