Four local job-seekers will gain valuable skills in marketing, food preservation and community engagement, while helping the Cowichan Green Community (CGC) distribute items to food banks and school meal programs.
CGC created the government-funded work experience project with the goal of establishing a food recovery system to redistribute food from grocery stores to people in need.
In addition to making community connections and educating the public, participants in the 38-week training program will also learn to make jams and other food products in CGC’s commercial kitchen. These items will be marketed, with the goal of creating a self-sustaining social enterprise in the future.
“The availability and sharing of nutritious food strengthens community and improves public health,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Work-experience projects like this nourish kids at school, while providing families with items like fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s a great example of our government’s commitment to achieving our poverty-reduction goals.”
Through a previous Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project, the Cowichan Green Community created a regional food map, which promoted local food producers as a part of a larger food security initiative.
“Supporting B.C.’s farmers and increasing food security through activities, such as value-added processing are important components in my mandate,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, who attended the announcement at the Cowichan Green Community. “This initiative is a great example of how community connections and skills are amplified by learning how to preserve, market and increase access of B.C.’s fresh fruits and vegetables to people who are at risk of experiencing food insecurity.”
The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided $84,000 in funding for this project through the CEP program. CEP supports communities, stakeholders and employers with job creation, economic growth, positive social impacts, increased employment opportunities and outcomes for unemployed British Columbians.
Judy Stafford, executive director, Cowichan Green Community –
“Through CEP funding, we have engaged and trained numerous participants, and have implemented many community programs and initiatives that have benefited the Cowichan region. We feel very grateful to have formed such strong community connections that have allowed so many successful graduates of the programs. Overall, these funded programs are win-win-win.”
Moe Vesey, president, Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association –
“It is our mission to reclaim as much food as possible from grocery stores and get the reclaimed food to the people that need it. People in need come first. The healthier we all are, the stronger and better we will all be together in this community."
Dennis Jess, participant –
“I am thrilled to be one of the participants, so I can contribute to an initiative that will directly help community members through increasing access to food and through reducing the negative environmental impacts of food waste. My participation in this program is an excellent opportunity to build connections and gain experience in this area of work.”
- Since 2012, the Community and Employer Partnerships program has helped over 1,675 job seekers benefit from work experience and has funded more than 300 projects throughout the province.
- CGC’s food security projects include the creation of projects like Kin Park Youth Urban Farm, FruitSave, the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! farm food map, and community gardens.
For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships: www.workbc.ca/CEP
Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre: www.workbccentres.ca
Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction: www.gov.bc.ca/sdpr
Learn more about Cowichan Green Community: https://cowichangreencommunity.org/
To view the online version of CGC’s food map: https://cowichangreencommunity.org/find-your-food/buy-local-buy-fresh/