On April 21, the United Nations projected that because of Covid-19, the number of people facing severe food insecurity worldwide could double to 265 million. At the same time, Statistics Canada released its figures for job loss reaching a staggering 1 million - pushing more into food insecurity. How do these figures impact KW?
At a local level, Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge unemployment rate increased by 2.3% (7,100 people pushed out of jobs) in March & April. This is the largest increase since comparable data became available in 1976! The largest of these employment losses were among vulnerable workers. For KW region we know that the cost of a Nutritious Food Basket, or the cost of eating healthy for a family of four living in Waterloo Region is $875.92 per month. In parallel an average 3 bedroom home rents for approximately $1254. This is causing already struggling families to choose between competing priorities: keeping a roof over their head or putting nutritious meals on their table.
Our project is a partnership between Maison Verte & The Working Centre’s Market Garden. We are building a controlled growing environment in a donated shipping container - to be able to grow nutritious fresh greens at a low cost, locally, every day of the year. This project will have 4 potential benefits:
1 - Selling leafy greens or fruit will provide revenue for the Market Garden CSA outside of the summer season.
2 - Training and Skillbuilding will be offered to locals enrolled in the employment program (this knowledge can also be used to grow food in their own homes)
3 - Provide more options for healthy & affordable produce to the community
4 - If the model is successful, we will be able to replicate and scale to other community gardens
Funded by Kitchener-Waterloo (May 2020)