Edmonton Food Basket Program in Peril

At a time when the organic food market is booming in record proportions and interest in the local food movement higher than ever, it is puzzling to hear that the Edmonton S & R (Sharing and Responsibility) food basket program is in serious threat.

Sharing and Responsibility (S&R) is a volunteer-run food share and fundraising program for non-profit organization Branches of Life Society of Canada. The S&R food program started in Edmonton over 20 years ago as a self-help method of people working together to stretch their food dollars and strengthen their community. (www.foodbasket.ca )Sample Food Basket

S & R distributes one organic food basket and one conventional basket to Edmonton and St. Albert participants each month. A selection of organic produce fills the organic basket for an affordable bulk rate of $30 plus 2 hours of volunteer work for an organization of your choice. Produce grown by local organic farmers forms the basis of the basket when seasonally available, and is supplemented by organic fruits and vegetables from a wholesaler during winter months. If you’re a heavy baker or canner, you can even order full cases of organic produce at a reasonable price.

I’ve been a happy recipient of the organic basket for at least a year, and it worries me that this service may soon end, and communities will cease to benefit. You see, a portion of what you pay for your monthly basket is donated to a local charity, usually in the area of housing. S & R benefits are tri-fold. Individuals at all income levels benefit from participating:

  • Help Yourself - Stretch your food budget. Eat healthy foods.
  • Help Each Other - Improve your combined economic power.
  • Help Your Community - Contribute to the community through volunteering at the place and interest of your choice in addition to participating in S&R’s fundraising for housing of people in need each time you purchase a basket. (www.foodbasket.ca)

Sounds like a great program, doesn’t it? So how could such a creative and vital program be facing an early end? S & R needs you to get involved. Committed board members, volunteers, and participants are needed to share their skills, energy and support. “Spread the word to your family and friends. The more people involved, the greater the buying power, and the greater our ability to provide funding for housing projects.” (www.foodbasket.ca)

To become a board member or a general volunteer, please contact Catherine Duchesne at catherine@foodbasket.ca or by phone at 780-797-2276. The decision as to whether or not to continue will be made on February 11th, so express your support swiftly.

(cross-posted at http://www.raisingspaces.com/)

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