Blog: What is the Good Food Box?

Poverty is the most reliable predictor of poor health.

Chronic diseases and diet-related illnesses disproportionately affect people of low socio-economic status. We need to push our work beyond emergency responses to create opportunities for community engagement, skill-building, and for action on the policies that last year led to food insecurity affecting 4 million Canadians. (Community Food Centres Canada- www.cfccanada.ca)

WHAT IS THE GOOD FOOD BOX?

The Thunder Bay GOOD FOOD BOX (GFB) is a monthly fruit & vegetable distribution program that aims to improve access to good food by making fresh, nutritious, low cost produce available in neighborhoods across our city.  It is intended to assist individuals with low or fixed incomes in accessing fresh produce year round. The Good Food Box is available in two sizes: small (or single sized) for $15 & large (or family sized) for $25. 

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The GFB is a food security program, which differs from an emergency food program (e.g. food banks). Emergency food programs are based on a charitable model that rely on donations and focus on non-perishable goods. While food banks ARE necessary to alleviate hunger in the short term, a community based food security program aims to create consistent, predictable, long-term solutions to food insecurity that center around a participatory model that engages people, agencies, and businesses as equal partners. Another integral goal is to enhance the local food economy, and we do that by purchasing from local retailers and producers and buying as much locally grown produce as possible.  It is because of the participation and in-kind (also really kind!) contributions of so many community players that we are able to offer a low cost box of fresh produce in most neighborhoods across the city. The savings on delivery charges, overhead, staff, etc., are then passed along to the customers.

The Good Food Box Program is a non-profit social enterprise that helps to integrate people of all incomes as active participants in and supporters of our local food economy.  Our program is powered by dozens of local agencies and partners along with over a hundred community volunteers. The volunteers are the backbone of the program; they accept orders, unload trucks, weigh and divide produce, pack boxes, deliver boxes and run distribution centers (which we call community host sites). This year alone (Jan-Nov 2017), GFB volunteers have contributed 3,894 hours to the program! Since 2005, the Thunder Bay GFB program has packed over 50,000 boxes of GOOD FOOD!

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1) ERB transport delivering and unloading fresh produce at our pack site, the Moose Hall.

2 A crew of pack day volunteers ready to pack hundreds of Good Food Boxes.

3) Some of the delivery crew who delivers the produce to host sites all across town.

The Thunder Bay Good Food Box is administered by the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre (since 2005) and receives funding from the City of Thunder Bay, The District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board and the United Way.

For more information and a list of community host sites please see our host site map

Written by Sherry Scott, Coordinator of the Thunder Bay Good Food Box

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