Today I rose in the Legislature to recognize the Mustard Seed, a non-profit organization that provides crucial services to address food insecurity in the Capital Regional District, mainly to children and families. Approximately 20,000 people (over 6% of the population) are moderately to severely food insecure. Since 2010, the number of individuals assisted by the Mustard Seed has increased from 4,000 to 7,000 per month.
The Mustard Seed has been exploring ways to move away from a traditional food banking model, focused primarily on processed, non-perishable food items, to one that provides fresh, healthy food, thereby improving health outcomes for food insecure people.
Their vision is to create a three-tiered food access system, subsidized through social enterprise, with emergency, preventative and retail components – with the latter two components supporting operational costs of the emergency programs. A proposed processing and community kitchen component would enhance food skills literacy and provide employment and skills training opportunities.
The Mustard Seed’s vision aligns with the Ministry of Health’s priorities for short-term food relief and longer term food security.
While currently there is insufficient storage space available for both non-profits and food retailers to manage the necessary volume to meet the food security needs of our communities, the Mustard Seed is working hard to develop solutions.
With the support of the community and government, the Mustard Seed hopes to realize their vision of a food secure region with a transformed, sustainable, non-profit/social enterprise model.
I want to thank them for their more than 40 years of service in our community and I commend then on their vision.
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March 16, 2018