The good food box: so much for so little
Run by the Community Kitchen Program of Calgary, the Good Food Box program aims to provide people on a tight budget with greater access to affordable, nutritious, and sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables.
Trevor Frisen, program manager of the Good Food Box, said the program was created 10 years ago, by the founder and CEO of the Community Kitchen Program, Marilyn Gunn. In its early days, Gunn herself delivered six boxes, which were prepared in her laundry room-turned-warehouse and delivered every month.
The program’s produce is purchased directly from growers and distributors at cost price, and is sold for the lowest price available in all of Calgary.
Today, the Community Kitchen Program delivers about 1,200 to 1,500 boxes every month and has about 170 depots spread out across Calgary, with SAIT being just one such distributor. These distributors can be found at different locations or institutions, and each location’s staff voluntarily delivers these boxes to either the public or to their own clients.
According to SAITSA staffer Maria Salazar, the Good Food Box has proven to be very successful in the past year, with about 60 students using the service every month.
Aside from serving SAIT students, the Good Food Box is also available to anyone on campus, from students and volunteers, to teachers and employees.
Since its inception, the Good Food Box’s contents are generally consistent. A peek inside one of the bountiful boxes will show that it consists of a bunch of seasonal fruits and vegetables, and is available in three sizes – small (25 lbs) for $20, medium (35 lbs) for $25 and large (45 lbs) for $30.
“I personally think this is a really good program we have here,” Salazar said. “It’s the perfect deal for those on a tight budget.”
Upon conducting a price comparison with Co-op and a few other grocery stores across Calgary, Trevor Frisen came to the conclusion that with the amount of fruits and vegetables being packaged and supplied per large box, the total cost at a regular grocery outlet would amount to $63.
“I literally juggle pennies while making up those boxes, just so I can get the most I can pack into each box,” Frisen said. “But I still love my job. There’s so much hidden poverty in Calgary that our low-income families need such a service.”
The last day to sign up for the Good Food Box at SAIT is Nov. 9, and the deadline to collect them will be on Nov. 22. For further details, visit room MC107 in the Stan Grad Centre, or call 403-210-4323.