New south Okanagan program helps schools raise money by sellng fresh, local produce

New farm fresh initiative to fund raise by selling local fruits and vegetables

  • Aug. 30, 2011 4:00 p.m.

Farm Bag is  a new fund-raising opportunity for local schools, based on improving options for healthy food choices.  The project is a collaboration (partnership?) between two south Okanagan businesses, and it will support local food-growers with fair wages, while making fresh produce affordable and available in the form of bags of fresh fruit and vegetables for each subscriber, delivered monthly to the participating schools.

“The fundraising program was built to answer several needs simultaneously: getting healthy, fresh food to families, giving schools high-return opportunities for raising funds and supporting local agriculture.

“We’re really excited to have settled on this model because it feels like win-win-win,” says Farm Bag program coordinator, Jennifer Vincent “One of the great things about the Farm Bag program is that it provides a commodity we all need – food.  And good, local, fresh food.  Who can say no to that?”

The fundraiser is open to all schools in the south Okanagan.  Schools will sell seven-month subscriptions which will provide a 20 pound bag of fresh, seasonal produce for every subscriber each month from October to April.  The cost  to buyers is $25 per month ($175 in total per subscriber).  Each month “the bag” will contain four to six different types of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Schools will receive 20 per cent (or $5) for every bag sale.  The Farm Bag program is intended to help schools raise funds for green initiatives or projects, such as establishing a school salad garden, xeriscaping, construction of native birdhouses, planting of shade trees or the installation of solar hot water.

Schools interested in starting the Farm Bag program need to register their intention to participate by September 15 and have their orders in by September 26.  The program has capacity for 16 schools to participate.

An added incentive for schools  is the option for them to become hubs for providing fresh food to the general community. Each school can decide whether  they wish to invite sales  to the general community, or if they want to limit the program to the school families and friends. For schools wanting to sell to a wider audience, the Farm Bag program will direct all inquiries from consumers to the closest participating school.

“By supporting small-scale agriculture and B.C. farmers, you are putting your dollar into the creation of a local food economy” says Farm Bag supplier Thomas Tumbach.

The partnership between Vincent and Tumbach is a synergistic one – Vincent has experience with online projects, marketing and community liaising.   Tumbach brings years of farming and distribution experience to the program.  Both are confident that the fundraising program will be a successful ongoing opportunity for years to come.

The Farm Bag fundraiser program is also available for community organizations upon request. Anyone interested in learning more about the Farm Bag program – whether for their school or to purchase a subscription from a nearby school should email farmbag@littlegreenbook.ca

 

By Jennifer Vincent