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Better Food Co. supporting local food system with local chefs

In this following up, we check in on the charitable food initiative Better Food Co., which uses local chefs to create to-go meals that support Hope House
Every month, The Better Food Co. accepts pre-orders for their made-in-Guelph meals that are prepared in Hope House's commercial kitchen by local chefs.

The Better Food Company believes that everyone has a right to healthy food.

With help from top local chefs, the vision is to build a better food system where food is healthy, accessible, and shared.

Better Food Company was launched in 2021 by Hope House, in collaboration with Justin Chan, the owner of the Community Company.

Every month, The Better Food Company accepts pre-orders for their made-in-Guelph meals that are prepared in Hope House's commercial kitchen by local chefs.

Most of the ingredients used are grown at the Hope House market garden at Ignatius Jesuit Centre. 

“Since this began, the goal has been to generate revenue for Hope House and to sustain our community food work,” Chan said.

“This month, what really excites us, is that we are able to use some of our produce that we harvested from the Hope House garden, such as carrots, onions, as well as local maple syrup. Being able to showcase local foods created by local chefs and then support our local food system, is really what we are trying to do,” Chan said.

This month’s meals are prepared by Chef Dan Baker, owner of DeliciousDirect, and his Canadian maple chili is on the menu.

“I am excited to share this meal with our community because any little thing I can do to help with our community’s food insecurity issue, I consider an honour,” Baker said.

Chan says when customers purchase a meal, they are not only buying a meal that is delicious and local, but also something that supports the entire food system.

“The goal is to create a community food system that highlights the power of locally grown food and how it can make an impact in the community,” Chan said.

“I think that many of us feel disconnected from our food systems, and this is an initiative that really celebrates what can be grown and made right in our own backyard.”

Meals can be purchased online. Proceeds from the meals support Hope House’s community food work, which includes its food market, and market garden.

For those who are food insecure, meals are also offered through the Hope House Community Food Market, free of charge.

Hope House shares 15,000 lbs of produce a year through its food market. Profits from meal sales support the Hope House garden which grows food for the community and also supports those who are food insecure.

“I think what has been most incredibly reflected so far, is the amount of community support and enthusiasm we have for the project,” Chan said.

“Additionally, proceeds from our meal sales, allow our community chef to prepare meals with specific dietary needs for those who are food insecure, and prepare extra meals for those that need it,” Chan said.

Chan says many customers buy monthly meals as a 'meal adventure', not knowing what to expect, month to month.

And some customers meet up with friends every month when they pick up their meals and enjoy them together as a way to connect.

“It’s great to hear how eager and excited our customers are to try the meals,” Chan said.

“And it really is amazing to hear that we’ve created something meaningful.”