Government provides $1.5M to help low-income Canadians access produce
July 15, 2020, Ottawa, Ont. – The federal government has announced $1.5 million in funding to support Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) to expand its Market Greens initiative to approximately 30 locations across Canada.
The initiative aims to support healthy eating and increase food access among Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. It will do so by establishing and increasing access to low-cost fresh produce markets and offering fruit and vegetable vouchers that can be used at participating local affordable markets.
The Market Greens initiative will support local organizations to create year-round community markets that will offer low-cost, fresh produce for Canadians in low-income neighbourhoods. These produce markets may also offer activities such as food demonstrations and tips and recipes from Canada’s Food Guide to help participants eat healthy on a budget.
The new Canada’s Food Guide provides advice on how to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks to help you eat healthy and save money.
The CFCC will also pilot a cost-saving voucher program for groups at higher risk of experiencing food insecurity such as newcomers to Canada, Indigenous peoples, those at risk of some chronic diseases and households with young children. The vouchers will work as an incentive that will allow participants to purchase fruits and vegetables at participating local markets at a reduced cost, thereby providing increased access to nutritious foods. The initiative will also promote community resources like cooking programs, community meals and garden workshops.
In addition, the CFCC will pilot an innovative program where physicians at select community health centres will issue prescriptions for fruits and vegetables, primarily to low-income people living on low incomes who are also managing chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes. The prescriptions can be redeemed at participating local community markets to help patients easily access nutritious foods.
“Living on a low income can make accessing nutritious foods a challenge,” says Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “Particularly now as our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are very pleased to support the growth of initiatives like Market Greens that have shown success in helping to remove financial barriers, ensuring more Canadians have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This in turn will help improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease.”