The Columbia Basin Trust has handed out a significant amount of funding ($850,000) to assist community-led projects to grow, recover and redistribute food.
Community kitchens, lawns-to-food initiatives and seed-saving libraries are just a few of the projects included in Columbia Basin Trust’s Local Food Access and Recovery Grants.
“We continue to see increasing interest in enhancing community growing spaces, recovering and redistributing food and using improved technology in food production,” said Hannah Holden, Delivery of Benefits Senior Manager with Columbia Basin Trust. “These projects will help more Basin residents—especially those in need—access locally grown, nutritious foods from communal growing and processing spaces, and benefit from knowledge sharing opportunities.”
Food access and recovery grants are part of the Trust’s work in local food production and access, a strategic priority as directed by Basin residents. Over $850,000 will support 24 projects across the region that focus on expanding opportunities for residents to create healthy meals, enhance social and cultural community connections through food and reduce food waste.
In Kimberley, the Kimberley Wellness Foundation will be the recipient of $70,000.
Shannon Grey Duncan, coordinator of the Healthy Kimberley Food Recovery Project says the funds will be used for a number of endeavours.
“This project has a few pieces,” she said. “It’s two years of funding.”
One piece is to increase efforts recover locally grown food.
Grey-Duncan says that the want to reach out to gardeners who end up with large amounts of produce, like zucchinis or kale or rhubarb, and also reach out to local commercial growers, because the funding will provide a bit of money to purchase produce.
The produce will be used for the frozen meal program. The Food Recovery Depot is also happy to share recipes.
There is also some funding to purchase an e-bike capable of carrying heavy loads.
“We can arrange for volunteers to pick up your garden produce,” she said. “And we do deliveries twice a week right now to about 20 homes, so the bike will help with that without increasing our carbon footprint.”
The frozen meals help address food insecurity and go to such programs as the Early Learning Centre.
“We’re also going to develop fresh meal products and improve our storage capacity,” Grey-Duncan said.
The pandemic has revealed some gaps in service and the Food Recovery Program will be reaching out to develop more partnerships and relationships with other non-profits.
In the second year of funding, the plan is to introduce an expansion of food literacy skills, where people can learn different ways to use vegetables from local chefs.
The Food Recovery Depot is located on the backside of the Kimberley Health Centre.
For more information regarding volunteering or partnerships, email email@example.com.