Partnering with YYC Growers and Fresh Routes the Calgary-based fund is helping empower everyone to Dine With DignityTM this holiday season
CALGARY -- This holiday season, the YYC Food Security Fund in partnership with YYC Growers and Fresh Routes is helping make locally-sourced holiday dinner boxes available to 120 families, or approximately 800 people through Fresh Routes’ Pay-What-You-Want markets in Calgary and regional Indigenous communities.
The meal kits, assembled and distributed by YYC Growers, feature a menu designed by Calgary-based chef Jaime Harling that includes regionally sourced turkey and sides including potatoes, carrots, charred cabbage and salad. The ingredients for the meal have been sourced from local producers and family businesses including Winters’ Turkeys, Amiable Organics, Sudo Farms, Eagle Creek Farm, Poplar Bluff Farms, Galimax Trading, Southern Skies Farm, MicroYYC, Shirley’s Greenhouse, and Fairview Farm.
By making these meal kits available to those in the community for whom price may be a barrier to accessing fresh, local meat and produce, the YYC Food Security Fund is working on several fronts to make it possible for families and individuals who are struggling this year to Dine with DignityTM at their holiday table.
“We have such good intentions around the holiday season, wanting to ensure that no one goes hungry, but the approach of some organizations who address emergency food access is too prescriptive,” says Lourdes Juan, Founder and Interim CEO of Fresh Routes, a social enterprise that runs a network of pop-up “pay-what-you-want” markets offering fresh fruits, veggies, eggs and whole grains at Calgary-area transit stations and in local Indigenous communities. “We established Fresh Routes to take a dignity-based approach that doesn’t require proof of need, or the collection of personal information, and acknowledges that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ food hamper isn’t the right fit for everyone who is struggling to access food.”
“The concept of being able to Dine with DignityTM is really all about empowering people who are struggling with food access to choose fresh, healthy, local options, not just whatever happens to come in a hamper,” says Calgary-based philanthropist and YYC Food Security Fund creator Zai Mamdani. “By ensuring the products available come from the region, we also help keep the donations that support the initiative invested in the region, where it supports local producers, local jobs and the economy.”
Economic studies have shown that for every $1 invested in food access solutions that include local producers, there is an approximately $6 economic impact that is generated for the local economy.
The meal kits, which retail from $85 to $145, will be available for purchase at a cost of the buyer’s choosing through Fresh Routes markets from December 21-23, 2021. For times and locations of the markets please visit freshroutes.ca. Any proceeds from the kits will go back into the YYC Food Security Fund to continue to support local Pay-What-You-Want Market initiatives. All donations $10 and up are eligible for a tax receipt from the Place2Give Foundation.
About the YYC Food Security Fund
The YYC Security Fund is a charitable initiative founded by Calgary-based philanthropist Zai Mamdani rooted in the belief that there are better, more holistic ways of addressing food access in Calgary and surrounding communities. Using the venture philanthropy model, the fund works with local scholars, experts, charities and regional food producers and provides funding for pilot projects that take an integrated approach to addressing issues of food security.
About Fresh Routes
Fresh Routes is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to ensure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food, especially those who need it most. Operating on a dignified food model, Fresh Routes ensures the mobile markets are affordable at 24-46% below market value, convenient, culturally appropriate and no proof of income required to shop. Fresh Routes operates a fleet of vehicles as mobile markets including a retrofitted City Transit Bus.