Soon, grabbing your groceries could help another person afford to do their own shopping within Guelph and Wellington County.
The SEED program is launching a new social enterprise called Groceries from the Seed on Monday.
Gavin Dandy, manager of the SEED program, a food project of the Guelph Community Health Centre, explains this initiative has been in the works for a while, and they finally have the capacity to launch.
“A year ago we could only dream about the capacity that we have now,” says Dandy, “We are now in a place that we can do this.”
Dandy explains the program works by residents signing up as members on their website and then doing their regular grocery shopping online through the SEED, paying the full retail price.
“Everytime you shop, we can guarantee that some of the money is what would typically be profit for another grocery store, but for us, it becomes money that we can use to give other people discount groceries,” he says.
The discounts for these residents can be up to 75 per cent off.
“The question then becomes does the SEED have high-quality groceries at good prices and is its home delivery services and people are going to find that the answer to all three of these questions is yes,” says Dandy.
With this program, SEED aims to help 2,000 low-income residents, about 750 households. To accomplish this, they need at least 500 retail members to register.
However, Dandy mentions this project is driven by the community and the more members they have, the more impact they can make.
“That’s just the starting point,” says Dandy, “I feel confident that thousands of households will, over the next several months, years to come, will be members of this grocery service and will have access to reliable discounts which makes it possible for them to get good food.”
Currently within Guelph and Wellington County there are around 20,000 who suffer from food insecurity.
While this initiative alone won’t solve this challenge, Dandy says it can help when combined with other steps, like policy changes, basic income and working with other groups within the community.
“We don’t want this to be something that the SEED does alone,” he says, “It’s going to take the whole community, even in the early stages of Groceries from the Seed there have been people stepping forward with really fantastic partnership ideas that can support our work.”
While shopping for groceries on SEED’s website, residents can also make an additional donation to their community partner, Our Food Future, which will go towards the Harvest Impact Fund to support other community projects related to food security.
Barbara Swartzentruber, executive director of Smart Cities Office which runs Our Food Future, says this program is a game-changer with national implications to help other communities tackle food insecurity.
“It’s going to make a difference because it’s really reimagining how a community supports everybody to have access to healthy food, ” says Swartzentruber, “And how a community makes sure nobody is left behind and that everybody has access.”
“If any community can step up and be one of the first in Canada to make sure everyone has good food in the community, it’s Guelph and Wellington,” says Dandy.
To learn more about Groceries from the Seed, click here.