Agricultural Co-op, with PHC, brings nutrition program to Gabriola

Kenda Chang-Swanson

Food Programs Coordinator, People for a Healthy Community (PHC)

Wednesday, May 22 2019

The Gabriola Agricultural Co-op, in partnership with People For a Healthy Community, is introducing a new program to Gabriola to help lower-income families and seniors access locally grown or raised nutritious, fresh food.

The program was developed by the B.C. Farmers’ Market Association and is intended to support local farmers’ markets and strengthen food security across British Columbia. Community partner organizations provide coupons to lower-income families and seniors that can be used at the local farmers’ market. On Gabriola, the partnership is between the Gabriola Agricultural Association Co-op and People for a Healthy Community. 

Each week for sixteen weeks starting June 15th, selected program participants will receive $21.00 in coupons to spend at the Saturday Farmers Market on select food items such as fresh produce and proteins. Farmers who accept the coupons will be reimbursed by the program. 

Agricultural co-op director, Eric Veale, whose efforts brought the program to the island said “This is good news for lower income Gabriolans and for the farmers who sell at the Farmers’ market. It’s one more step towards food security on our island.” 

Brenda Fowler, Executive Director of People for a Healthy Community adds “the Farmers Market is a cornerstone of our community, and now this program makes locally grown food available to more community members. Along with exercise and social connections, eating fresh, healthy food makes a big difference to overall health and wellness.”

The program is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Health and operates in 75 communities in the province. The program supports more than 4,000 .B.C. families and seniors who could otherwise not afford to shop at a local farmers’ market.

 Gabriola Agricultural Association Co-op and People for a Healthy Community play key, unique roles in addressing local food insecurity. By coming together to deliver this program, the two organizations are building linkages for the benefit of the broader community.

Applications for the program can be picked up at People for a Healthy Community, Gabriola Elementary School, the HOPE Centre, Gabriola Medical Clinic, and Gabriola Healthcare Centre. The deadline for applications is May 28th, although applications will be accepted past the deadline if space remains in the program. Questions about the program can be directed to Kenda (Food Programs Coordinator) at People for a Healthy Community at 250-247-7322 or food@phcgabriola.org