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Letter: CGC has many programs helping to supply nutritious food

Cowichan Green Community actually offers two food voucher/coupon programs

CGC has many programs helping to supply nutritious food

I am writing this in response to the letter published in the paper on Aug. 17, “Good food too expensive”.

P. Foot has some very valid points — food is expensive with no end in sight. British Columbia’s consumer price index (CPI) in July 2023 was three per cent higher (unadjusted) than in July 2022. Food (+6.6 per cent), health and personal care (+6.1 per cent), shelter (+4.7 per cent), and Canada’s Food Price Report, which is compiled by researchers at Dalhousie University, the University of Guelph, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of British Columbia, suggests that food prices will rise by another five to seven per cent in 2023 after increasing by more than 10 per cent in 2022. Predictions indicate food prices will continue to increase next year and certainly people are feeling the pinch of escalating costs on other basic needs as well.

P. Foot also asks, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a food voucher program to buy local fresh produce for families earning $60,000 or less?”

Cowichan Green Community actually offers two food voucher/coupon programs. Since 2013, we have partnered with the BC Farmer’s Market Association and the Duncan Farmer’s Market to offer $27/week to shop at the downtown market during the summer. We are supporting 140 low-income families and seniors on this program. This is a very popular initiative and we are grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health who have recognized the importance and significant positive impact this program makes for the recipients and our local farmers.

Our second food coupon program, we initiated in March 2020 in response to COVID and the food access challenges that were present at that time. We have fundraised thousands of dollars at our annual February Donor Breakfast for this essential community service. Currently, we support 100 low-income families and seniors with $25/week to shop at our downtown reFRESH Marketplace grocery store located at 360 Duncan St. This program has been too successful — with dozens of people on our wait list. The demand is definitely exceeding our capacity to support everyone who needs this food. At this point, we have limited funds left and the availability of other grant funding for this important program is drying up. We are appealing for donations and if anyone is looking for a way to support our most vulnerable community members, please contact us as

P. Foot also mentioned, “The Green store usually offers a small choice of dried up old produce.”

We’re not sure if it is our “reFRESH Marketplace” store P. Foot is referring to but we have a fabulous selection of fresh, nutritious food and we’re proud of the high quality and low prices we are able to offer as some of the fresh food is donated from local stores and farmers. We welcome everyone to come and shop. Every dollar received goes directly back into our programming.

CGC has moved mountains to support our low-income community members and we want to continue to provide these essential services. We’re grateful for everyone’s support as we all navigate these challenging times together. Please let us know if you would like any more information about our organization and the amazing work all the staff, volunteers, and board members contribute.

Judy Stafford

Cowichan Green Community