By long-time Ottawan Samantha Everts, who ended up out west for love but quickly came back to the city she truly adores.
Being an Ottawa native who is connected to alterative food culture, I’ve been spoiled by a small community initiative that has surprised and delighted me each month with a full and varied food basket. The Ottawa Good Food Box is a local collective that purchases large amounts of fruit and vegetables for bulk prices from local farmers and wholesalers while promoting food security in the many neighbourhoods it serves. Anyone can participate!
Every month you choose what size of box you would like based on the number of people in your household and how many fruits and vegetables you eat. A few days latter, the box is delivered to a nearby distribution centre where you can pick it up. A complete list of participating distribution centres can be found online but it includes all manner of community organizations such as churches, health clinics and recreational centres, so there is almost certainly a location near you.
This entirely volunteer run organization does a great job of keeping costs low. The price of a box is $10, $15 or $20 depending on whether you want a small, medium or large. Local foodies can even get an all organic box for $25 during the local growing season from July to November.
In my experience, the amount of food you get for your initial investment will save you at least $30 (if you live in Centretown) on fresh produce. Just to give you an example of what a bargain it is, last month, for $15, I received: 5 lbs of potatoes, 2 lbs of carrots, 2 lbs of onions, 1 lb of mushrooms, 1 lb of green beans, 1 huge head of lettuce, 5 apples, 2 pears, 5 bananas, 1 grapefruit, 1 celery stalk, 5 beets, 1 broccoli, and 2 zucchinis.
Each month, the selection varies according to the season. While packing up her order one woman commented to me, ‘I love that you never know what you’re going to get!’ Rest assured though, there are always family favourites that will keep even the pickiest eaters happy.
Orders are due by the second Tuesday of each month, so this month the deadline is May 11 for the delivery on May 19.
As an added bonus, for people who might not be used to cooking with some of the things in their box, there is a newsletter included that has recipes for the specific vegetable highlighted that month, like broccoli. Buying a good food box really encourages you to eat your veggies and lets you feel good about building community spirit!
For more information and to place your order you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit