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Making healthy food as accessible as possible (5 photos)

New weekly food market at the Guelph Community Health Centre offers healthy food on a sliding price scale

A new fresh food market with a twist has popped up in Downtown Guelph.

The Community Food Markets is aimed at making healthy food as accessible as possible for everyone. In order to do that they offer fruit and vegetables on a sliding price scale: don’t have much money? pay the lower end of the posted price scale and if you can afford it pay the market price listed at the upper end of the scale, please do so.

“No questions asked,” says Tom Armitage, who runs the market.

The food isn’t free. People are expected to pay at least the low end of the sliding scale.

It takes place every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the atrium of the Guelph Community Health Centre at 176 Wyndham St. N.

The goal is to have a series of similarly-sized markets throughout the city, said Armitage.

“The main point of the market is to increase financial access to healthy food among food insecure individuals and families throughout Guelph,” he said.

“Food insecurity is a huge issue in the city, with 13 per cent or more of households that are food insecure and the little we can do to decrease the costs for people who are dealing with low-income issues, the more they can access with the few dollars they have.”

Armitage said the market is not just for clients of the GCHC or low income people, it is open to all.

The markets are run through the GCHC’s SEED program, a community food project with various elements all aimed at using food to help build a healthy community and address the underlying issues of food insecurity and poverty in Guelph.

Armitage sources the food from a variety of places, including local farmers and SEED’s own Guelph Youth Farm, who were selling some of their initial crops – chard and basil – at Tuesday’s inaugural market.

“Local, fresh, affordable food,” said Raechelle Devereaux, the GCHC’s Executive Director. “We want to make sure that all have access to fresh, local, healthy and affordable choices.”

Having the inaugural Community Food Markets downtown at the GCHC only helps in providing access for a part of the segment that often can’t access fresh food, either because of price or transportation issues, Devereaux said.

“We hope that we can get broad accessibility to all those that need and deserve fresh fruit and vegetables,” she said.