The Field-to-Table program
is a not-for-profit healthy food delivery system
for Toronto’s low-income citizens, operated by FoodShare since 1992. It's a smart wholistic approach to food distribution that is community-based and market-driven in a way that supports local farmers
Here's how the Good Food Box project
- Every month 4,000 boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables are delivered through 200 volunteer-run neighborhood drop-offs in Metro Toronto.
- It's essentially a large buying club based on many of the same principles and aspirations as Japan's Seikatsu Club, the United States' Share Box and Brazil's Citizen's Action Against Hunger and Poverty and for Life.
- The food is purchased at the Ontario Food Terminal (the outlet for most imported and local produce coming into Ontario) and directly from local farmers when possible.
- Boxes are packed by volunteers twice monthly, then delivered to any neighborhood location in Toronto that has 10 or more individuals or families who want to buy the box.
- Volunteer coordinators collect money in advance of delivery, call in orders, then make sure that customers get their boxes.
The advance order system minimizes waste, and coincides with the income cycles of people on social assistance (orders and payment are made when money is available, food arrives when supplies and money are scarce).
Box contents are standardized, though items vary with each delivery depending on what is in season or a good deal at the time.
A top priority in planning the GFB is ensuring that the produce is very fresh and of the best quality, with a good balance of staples and items that are unusual, challenging or perceived as a luxury (e.g., organic foods).
A newsletter included in the box contains educational material on food preparation, nutrition and food issues.
This sustainable "community business" offers an alternative to food banks which some low-income people avoid because of the fear of stigmatization.