â€œEvery day in southern Ontario, thousands of people go hungry, while local farmers struggle to make ends meet.â€
So says The Stop Community Food Centreâ€™s latest poster. It goes on to say that we can help solve both these problems at the same time thanks to an innovative new program developed by The Stop and The New Farm
Called ‘Grow for The Stop’ , this program takes donations and gives them to the New Farm in exchange for fresh produce to use in the feeding of over 16,000 people a year.
Farmers, Gillian Files and Brent Preston, have made the New Farm a success through their old-fashioned approach to farming, with a tractor as the only mechanical help they get. Growing over 150 varieties of heirloom vegetables, from ripe green tomatoes and purple carrots to black radishes soon caught them the attention of Toronto restaurants.
With top chefs ordering their organic, heirloom produce for menus at Canoe and JK at the Gardiner, Gillian felt â€œwe wanted to make our food as accessible as possible and bring it to people who would not otherwise be able to afford it.â€
Most of us can pick and choose when we want to be bad and eat a bucket of chicken or a bag of pork rinds because we know that when we feel like getting healthy again it’s not a big issue. We can just go out and buy leaner cuts of meat, green things, whole grains. The poor can’t buy anything, they are out of the decision making process. They have to take what’s given to them and eat it. This program gives them the opportunity to make a healthy choice.
Now you can get some of this produce too, starting tomorrow Fiesta Farms will be carrying vegetables from the New Farm. A portion of the sales will be donated to Grow for The Stop. Says Brent, “The program not only provides top-quality local, organic food to those in need in our community, it also supports local farmers and helps build a sustainable local food system.”
So we all win and everyone gets to eat real food. Ideas and programs like this are going to save us all, one organic beet at a time.