See you at the Veggie Van
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/08/2022 (281 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Fireweed Food Co-op’s Veggie Van has been offering local fruits and veggies at subsidized prices this summer since July.
The mobile market ends Sept. 15, but until then, on Thursdays, it will be parked as usual outside the West Central Women’s Resource Centre (448 McGee St.) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and Norwest Co-op Community Food Centre (103-61 Tyndall Ave.) from 4:30 to 6 p.m. On Fridays it can be found outside Point Douglas Women’s Centre (221 Austin St. N) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
It only started in 2021, but there are already plans to expand the small farmers market next summer as it has been very successful in bringing farm fresh fruits and veggies to inner city neighbourhoods where socioeconomic challenges mean more people are reliant on food banks and free meal programs. Sometimes there is simply less access to good healthy fresh food in the community, as farmers markets generally set up in more affluent neighbourhoods.
“Many of our guests come early on Thursdays to stock up on veggies before staying for the free meal we serve. Other people join them and there’s not much left when the van leaves” said Tyler Engel at the Norwest Co-op Community Food Centre.
Last week the Veggie Van brought beets, zucchini, celery, bell peppers, red onions corn, cucumbers, and cabbage. Gloria Knott is a big fan.
“It’s so cheap, I use it every week” she enthused.
Ongoing sponsorship by Assiniboine Credit Union, Red River Co-op, Food & Beverage Manitoba and the Winnipeg Food Council allows non-profit Fireweed Food Co-op to sell the produce at a 50 per cent discount while paying full price to the Manitoba farmers who grew the food and then harvested it just that morning or the night before. Sometimes the farmers donate produce which is then given away to shoppers and there are always tokens that can be exchanged for vegetables on a on a pay-it-forward basis.
The price of food bought at stores rose 9.7 per cent in May compared to a year ago according to Statistics Canada and many more people are finding it harder to put food on the table. The bags of marked down produce at the grocery stores sell out quickly but the taste and nutritional quality may have degraded slightly as sugars in some veggies like corn and asparagus start to turn into starches soon after being picked.
The Veggie Van is a great alternative for those of us who want to eat fresh produce but just can’t afford to. These days, that’s more and more of us. See you at the Veggie Van!
West End community correspondent
Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org