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Fresh Routes continues to fight against the rising costs of food by providing healthy options at affordable prices

By Julieanne Acosta, March 13 2023

Fresh Routes is a not-for-profit that looks to provide healthy and affordable foods to Calgarians — especially the city’s most vulnerable populations. 

The organization began as a pilot from Calgary’s food recovery and redirection program called the Leftover Foundation when the program’s founder, Lourdes Juan, saw that households weren’t able to get food equitably. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, Cindy Posada, Fresh Routes’ community engagement coordinator, further explained how the company works. 

“We’re a mobile grocery store,” said Posada. “We go to places where it is difficult to find healthy food because of mobility. [For example], maybe food sources are very far away. We go once a week and bring food for everybody. Our mission is to get everybody access to healthy food with affordable prices.” 

Fresh Routes notes on their website that it is clear that race has an impact on food insecurity. 

“More than four million people struggle with the burden of food security in Canada, with a disproportionate number of Black, Indigenous and racialized Canadians identifying as food insecure because of enduring racialized income inequality,” read their website. 

Fresh Routes goes across the city at different dates and times to accommodate communities in need. They began partnering with Indigenous communities and their nutritionists and dieticians to bring healthy food to First Nation communities and also serve the University of Calgary community once a week.

“We go to Indigenous communities once a week and we have different markets across the city,” said Posada. “We go to the University of Calgary every Thursday in the Kinesiology building from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.”

In their 2022 Impact Report, Fresh Routes reported that their mobile grocery stores stopped in over 70 communities in Calgary. 

“Operating year-round, rain, snow or shine, our mobile grocery stores stop in over 70 communities throughout Calgary, serving over 6,000 Albertans each month. In 2022, we have sold [around] 196,000 lbs of fruits and vegetable in an effort to build a sustainable equitable and inclusive food system,” the report read. 

To support Fresh Routes, students can choose to give a one-time or monthly donation online or volunteer.

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