An enthusiastic group of 18 individuals gathered at Connon’s Nurseries on Saturday, October 24th to celebrate the successful conclusion of year one of the Fresh for All food security campaign.
Facilitated by co-chairs Ruth Ingersoll and Steve Van de Hoef, members of the working group, representing the Children and Youth Services Network, Food Security Network, Vital Signs and Poverty Roundtable joined television personality and campaign spokesperson Carson Arthur, business sponsors Steve and Debb Poole from Connon’s and food recipient organization representatives Brenda Post from the Salvation Army in Belleville and Linda Downey from the Storehouse Food Bank in Wellington, shared perspectives and outcomes with each other over a hot cup of apple cider, donated by the Community Development Council.
Of the 27 participating food banks and meal programs across Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, 60% reported in our online survey that they received fresh produce, including lettuce, peas, beans, carrots, squash, beets, onions, apples and strawberries, as a result of the Fresh for All campaign.
Also according to survey results, thirty-eight percent of this produce was given directly to individuals/families – see how produce was used in the chart below.
Some testimonials we received from food programs: “Fresh for All is a wonderful program and has helped us immensely to be able to provide better quality food to our people.” “The people we serve told us they look better and feel better because of the fresh food.” “Fresh for All helped us raise awareness that we accept garden produce.”
Carson Arthur shared some promising information for next year’s campaign. He told us that the millennial cohort or Generation Y, born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, are showing an interest in gardening – growing food in particular. This is a group that we will definitely try to engage in next year’s campaign. The celebration concluded with a presentation by Debb Poole about getting your garden ready for next season, and to help get us started, all those present received a complementary package of seeds from Connon’s to sow in the Spring.