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Farm market benefits food bank

Sep 15 2012

Local produce from Hope Farm will be among the bounty set out today at the inaugural Mustard Seed Community Market.

Hope Farm is home to an addiction-recovery program run by the Mustard Seed organization on 14.5-hectares in the Cowichan Valley. Clients of Hope Farm make a six-month commitment to deal with their addiction issues while taking part in farm life.

The market is at the Mustard Seed Food Bank facility at 625 Queens Ave., where Hope Farm will be selling free-range eggs and chicken as well as produce.

Also selling their wares are the Good Food Box from Fernwood and the Feeding Ourselves and Others program, which runs a garden at the Seven Oaks mentalhealth facility on Blenkinsop Road.

A number of other groups are also involved, including the LifeCycles Project Society, which will have a food-tasting booth and a canning workshop.

Assistant food bank director Rudi Wallace said the basic idea is to showcase affordable, locally grown food to the public.

"It's operating on a direct-subsidy model, a sliding-scale model. Clients who have done registration with us, who have coupons, will get 50 per cent off everything."

Others will pay more, but will still enjoy low-cost food, he said.

"They're also directly, immediately having a turnaround on donations to help low-income families access nutritional, healthy foods," Wallace said. "We just want to create shared values surrounding health and nutrition."

The market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Today also marks the completion of the second annual B.C.

Thanksgiving Food Drive to help organizations across the province, including the Mustard Seed and food banks on the West Shore, Saanich Peninsula and Saltspring Island.

Donation labels and bags have been distributed to homes around the region so that contributions can be picked up today. Food donations can also be dropped off at the Rona store at 850 Langford Parkway, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints locations on Quadra Street, Mann Avenue and Eastleigh Way.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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