Healthy Kimberley’s Food Recovery Depot will soon see significant expansion, thanks in part to a grant from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).
Healthy Kimberley first opened in 2018 and since then has recovered 315,000 pounds of food, with 85 per cent used to make over 25,000 frozen meals which have been distributed to Kimberley residents.
They’ve done all this work out of a City-owned kitchen at the Kimberley Health Centre, but are now preparing to expand their operations with a commercial kitchen development project, which will increase the volume and efficiency of their meal production capability.
“We’ve been using an off-site, city-owned commercial kitchen, but we have outgrown the space and the opportunity to have our own kitchen on-site is exciting,” said program coordinator Shannon Duncan. “With our own kitchen, all food and ingredients will be on-site and with less transportation needed we can create efficiencies to work with more fresh ingredients and explore food literacy opportunities.
“The Depot is already such a ripe ground for bringing people together around food, and being able to go one step further and offer regular workshops will be a great addition to our services.”
Healthy Kimberley, via the Kimberley Wellness Foundation received $48,000 from CBT, part of nearly $250,000 in funding to eight community-led projects in the Kootenays.
Kimberley’s Edible Gardens and Greenhouse Society was another local group that benefited, receiving $14,000 for a three-season greenhouse and tool rental program.
Cranbrook’s Community Connections Society of Southeast BC got $35,000 to expand their existing food recovery program and Wildsight Elk Valley received $32,000 for their EcoGarden Food Yard, which will provide greater access to locally produced food in Fernie.
Healthy Kimberley is driven by a dedicated team of volunteers, who put in an average of 300 volunteer hours per month. This new kitchen will allow for even more opportunities for volunteers eager to learn or share their own culinary skills, while working alongside professional contracted cooks creating an accessible meal plan.
“Since we have the bones of the original hospital kitchen, we just need to install equipment and do some updating, which I’m hoping will be completed within six months,” Duncan said. “We’ve experienced such fast growth, and it’s created a need for a subsidized program where people who can’t afford market prices can pay a graduated rate for meals. It will help fuel the program in a sustainable way so we can grow into the future.”
The full list of projects can be viewed here: ourtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2023-02_FAAR-Backgrounder.pdf
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