The Salvation Army – Feed Fresh First Initiative
Food security is an issue for many of the clients who walk through The Salvation Army’s doors with current stats showing that 1 in 5 Canadians skip a meal to make ends meet. Community Services (Calgary) offers many food security related programs and services that rely on food donations from the community to help us feed those in the venerable sector. Due to the expense of fresh produce, many impoverished people find it difficult to include fresh produce in their diet, on a regular basis.
With our Feed Fresh First (FFF) initiative, we plan to create a self-sustaining garden in our South West location (The Barbara Mitchell Family Resource Centre), including fruits, herbs and vegetables. With the aid of a greenhouse, we will be able to cultivate seeds from the previous year’s garden and grow more the following year. This is a community volunteer-based project.
This garden will not only provide fresh food for those in need, but it will also enable us to provide educational opportunities to all those who participate. We will be teaching children and adults how to start a garden on a budget, using items they may have around their home, how to care for the plants, how to harvest, and how to preserve their excess produce for the winter months.
Community gardens are a great way for people of all ages to socialize, learn and bond. Not only are people creating friendships, but these gardens are helping reduce the costs of groceries for low-income families and promoting healthy eating.
Who Will it Benefit?
This program is not limited to just the SouthWest Community – anyone wishing to participate may do so. The Salvation Army Community Services (Calgary) provides support for single men and women, teenagers, children and families. A client to us is anyone who walks through our doors who is in need of assistance or wishing to learn a new skill. We serve people of all faiths and from all cultures. Our programs have seen an increase in demand in the past year with over 600 individuals and families relying on our support for food related products each month.
We have a variety of volunteers who also will benefit from this program as they work alongside the clients; teaching new skills, fostering teamwork, and building community. With this program we will be helping transform lives.