Written by Denise Deby.

If you’re keen to have more fresh vegetables and fruits on your table but are short on funds, don’t live near a market or can’t commit to a CSA share, don’t despair; there’s another option.

The Ottawa Good Food Box allows you to purchase a box of fresh fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. The Good Food Box pools your order with others it receives, meaning it can buy in bulk from local farmers and wholesalers.

The boxes contain “staples” such as carrots, onions, apples, tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes as well as seasonal produce such as green beans, mushrooms, strawberries, asparagus or mangoes. Not all the produce is local, although they try to source local where possible. You can sign up for a large, medium or small box, a “fruit bag,” or an organic box. The Good Food Box includes recipes with every order in case you’re not sure what to do with that eggplant or Swiss chard.

The Ottawa Good Food Box is a non-profit program run through the Centretown Community Health Centre. It began as a way to make fresh food affordable. The program is open to everyone, and there’s no fee to participate.

You pick up your order at a local distribution site (check the online map for a site near you). If you can’t find a nearby site, the Ottawa Good Food Box will create a new one as long as they have 10 customers and a volunteer site coordinator for it.

The Good Food Box relies on volunteers, so if packing boxes, running a site or getting to know your neighbours interest you, check out the opportunities at http://www.ottawagoodfoodbox.ca/?page_id=59.

From the Ottawa Good Food Box website:

The Good Food Box is open to anyone and everyone who is interested in participating in the program, whether your reasons are to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, introduce variety and new food experiences, cooking more from scratch or building community spirit!”

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