Good Food Box
What is the Bow Valley Good Food Box?
The Bow Valley Good Food Box (GFB) is a program organised by Bow Valley Food Alliance utilizing staff and volunteers from Town of Banff, Canmore Primary Care Network, ID 9 and MD of Bighorn through the local Farm Box/Organics Box business so you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables (produce) at wholesale cost. The Good Food Box is a hands-up program as opposed to a hand-out. This offers sustainable access to nutritious food to ensure that no one has to go hungry.
Here is a bit more information about the Bow Valley Good Food Box (GFB) program which addresses an excellent question/comment that may also be on your mind:
“While I appreciate the notion of introducing new and unusual veggies and fruit [to the Good Food Box] … I do find this a reason to potentially discontinue my purchasing. When it is filled with relatively common … purchased items or common treats the box provides financial relief and eliminates a grocery store trip. However when it includes a giant 5 lb. Taro root and a leek … I want the group to know that the shift to unusual contents is impacting my motivation to participate ...”
It may help to explain why the GFB, which is about access to affordable produce and not about personal convenience, are now more heavily influenced by Asian food items. These have been added to make the GFB more useful to the large numbers of area new Canadians and Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) in the Bow Valley many of whom are area residents with the lowest income and most severely impacted by COVID 19 measures. In the scheme of the whole Bow Valley all the program partners agreed that it is most important to assist the most possible lowest income and most severely COVID impacted residents with this accessibility program. We already know that the rather random nature of getting a GFB, without being able to order what is in it, is not workable for some low income residents but is workable and useful for most others.
We feel that providing some produce variety with preparation ideas and recipes will be interesting and a little bit adventuresome for those of modest to middle income (in Banff, Canmore, KC and MD) and be of better service by providing access to more culturally appropriate foods for low income new Canadians and TFWs. This change has resulted in larger participation by our immigrant population, if we begin to have more participation in the program by Stoney Nakoda nation members, our selection may need to be modified further.
We now provide a list of what will be in the GFB in the week prior to delivery so participants can use that information to plan their grocery shopping, rather than the produce selection being a complete surprise like it was when we were using Calgary Community Kitchens to provide our boxes (when we also had so much plastic and cardboard waste with the program). Having more participants who pay the full price means we can get more produce for our collective buck (through bulk buying) than if it was run strictly for low income users only.
We welcome your thoughts and comments via email on our regional attempts to balance needs of lowest income area residents with those of moderate to middle incomes with this Bow Valley Good Food Box program.
Boxes are put together by the super professional Organics Box staff (who are utilizing all the latest recommended safe food handling processes) and delivered at our pick-up depots by dedicated volunteers who along with the Bow Valley Christmas Spirit Campaign and Canmore Rotary desire to see individuals and families accessing affordable nutritious food.
How Does the GFB Operate? The GFB operates by buying fresh top quality produce directly from farmers and wholesale suppliers. The food is bought in bulk and delivered to the Edmonton warehouse. Staff divide the produce into portions and put the Good Food Boxes together. Boxes contain the maximum fresh fruits and vegetables possible in them for the price. Each monthly box contains a similar mixture of staple produce, though some of the contents will change seasonally.
September 14 boxes are on sale now through 9 am Friday, September 4 at https://bowvalleygoodfoodbox.com/
Customised contents for a box is NOT possible.
This program allows all residents of the Bow Valley to get 20-25 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables for $30. Good Food Boxes (GFB) will be delivered to Exshaw for folks who live, work or go to school in MD Bighorn and Kananaskis on Monday, once a month. If we get enough GFB orders (5 or more) for particular MD Hamlets or areas, we can arrange a pick-up spot there with some volunteers in that area. Payment is required at time of order placement and the boxes must be picked up on the depot’s date and time. We do NOT order extra boxes, so plan ahead and order by the deadline. Any boxes not picked up will be donated to a local food security program.
Thanks to the generous support of Bow Valley Christmas Spirit Campaign and Canmore Rotary a reduced price of $25 per box is available to area residents who:
- have an annual income below Single Individual $33,045 or Family/Couple $66,090, or
- have been recently impacted financially by the COVID-99 Pandemic containment measures, or
- are volunteers with the GFB program.
- if you need a more affordable option during COVID-19 contact Community Services early to see if a Pay What You Can box is available.
All orders are placed online and you specify your pick up location as one of the following "cities": Banff, Lake Louise, Exshaw, Stoney Nakoda Nation or Kananaskis. There are no credit card or processing fees with this local supplier.
Order Online with credit card by 9 am on the Order Deadline (see dates below) via https://bowvalleygoodfoodbox.com/
If you do not have a credit card to order online, need a more affordable option, need to pay via cash/debit card or want to apply MD Fitness Class Credits please contact Community Services via phone or email by at least 1 week prior to the order deadline to make arrangements for payment or class credits use at the office and we will place your online order for you.
All Bow Valley Good Food Boxes must be ordered and prepaid by the order deadline. If we get enough GFB orders (5 or more) for particular MD Hamlets or areas, we can arrange a pick up spot there with some volunteers in that area.
We will email you a link to a confidential online survey after you receive your Good Food Box to collect the data our funders need and ask you to:
- Indicate your household annual income level
- indicate if you were recently impacted financially by the COVID-19 Pandemic containment measures
- Indicate if you are a volunteer with the GFB program
- answer a few questions about your household members ages
|Order & Pay Deadlines||Pick-up Dates||Pick-up Depot Locations||Pick-up Hours|
|at 9 am||Monday|
in Kananaskis Village Centre
5 pm - 6 pm
Noon to 4:30 pm
|Friday, September 4||Sept. 14/15||as above||as above|
|Friday, October 9||October 19/20||Tentative dates & times|
|Monday, November 9||November 16/17||Tentative dates & times|
|Monday, November 30||December 7/8||Tentative dates & times|
|further dates To Be Announced|
This Bow Valley wide affordable fruit and vegetable program is brought you in partnership with:
Town of Banff, MD of Bighorn, Primary Care Network, Improvement District 9, Bow Valley Food Alliance, Stoney Health Services with generous support of Bow Valley Christmas Spirit Campaign, Canmore Rotary, Farm Box, Exshaw Community Association and Kananaskis Outfitters.
This program would not be possible without the generous support and assistance of community volunteers who help to distribute the boxes to MD Hamlets, Kananaskis and Stoney Nakoda Nation from the Exshaw Community Centre depot. Volunteers will be at Exshaw Community Hall Kitchen during pick-up hours on GFB days.