Lush Valley Food Action Society

http://www.lushvalley.org/index.html
Information taken directly from website.

Society est. Feb. 2000

Background:

Lush Valley is a charitable, non-profit community grassroots organization focusing on food security.
They support food related projects to educate and empower the people of the Comox Valley towards personal wellness, community health and environmental stewardship.
Lush Valley is the result of a workshop facilitated in the winter of 1998 in the Comox Valley by Denise Nadeau, Women Thinking Globally, Acting Locally. They identified the local issues of poverty and food as ones on which they wanted to work, and discussed how they could organize in their community.

Association with Government:

Lush Valley is not associated with the government but has received funding from the Province of British Columbia and project funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Membership:

Membership is open. Both individuals and organizations can have membership. They are governed by a Board of Directors with 6 members. They also have 5 staff people. They are funded by the Province of British Columbia, Vancouver Island Health Authority, The Childrens Health Foundation, Comox Valley Regional District, Telus, Boag Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, United Way, Real Estate Foundation, BC Healthy Communities, The City of Coutenay, The Home Depot Canada Foundation, and the Comox Valley Community Foundation as well as through donations from individuals and private businesses.

Documents Created:

Season Upon Season Cookbook: A Lush Valley Cookbook Sharing the Harvest and Preserving the Wisdom of our Elders

Activities:

  • The Good Food Box program, based on the Ontario program ran from 1999 to 2002.
  • Fruit Tree Program: Began in 2002. They collect and distribute fruit from trees that are volunteered to the program. In the past year they were able to distribute over two tons of fresh fruit to people in need.
  • Young Cooks Program: Teens and preteens interested in cooking from scratch made meals to take home to their families. They also tour farms, gardens, grocery stores, bakeries and other food related businesses on a weekly basis. Each class of Young Cooks also works on a project that will give them more artistic, community minded skills in addition to their kitchen skills, such as a mural or garden or brochure and/ or cookbook or other socially responsible project.
  • Food Skills for Families: Food Skills for Families is a six session cooking program that teaches healthy eating and cooking in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Developed by the Canadian Diabetes Association, the program is designed for the unique needs of low-income families.
  • Community Kitchens: Monthly shared cooking for a regular group of participants. This group also runs workshops. One shared cooking program, Drop-In Cooking, donates leftovers to Food Not Bombs.
  • Garden Share: Focus on connecting gardeners with people who have land to lend. Some of the harvest from those connections is contributed to Lush Valley.
  • Establishment of the Comox Valley Food Round Table developed out of involvement with the VIHA Food Security HUB network and through feedback from the community. Through the VIHA Food Security HUB network Lush Valley has assisted in creating a Vancouver Island Health Region Food Charter and Strategic Planning. In the past year Lush Valley has been helping to develop and deliver the Family Literacy Outreach program with Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Association as well as other organizations.
  • Working to develop relationships with farmers to support their efforts of bringing local food into the community.
  • St. Joseph’s Nutritional Services Department has been participating in a Food Redistribution Pilot Project since April 2010.They direct surplus food from Health Care Facilities, which would otherwise go to waste, to social service agencies supporting the immediate food needs of food insecure individuals and families within their communities. Vancouver Island Health Authority coordinates the project and partners include VIHA Food Security, VIHA Environmental Health, VIHA Community Nutritionist and Lush Valley Food Action Society. During the school year, the food from St. Joesph’s is delivered to Lake Trail Middle School to be used in their food programing and for families in need. When school is not in session food is delivered to the Eureka Clubhouse (a social club for people with severe mental illness) and Lilli House, the women’s shelter of the Comox Valley Transition Society.
  • VIHA’s Community Food Atlas: an interactive visual platform of community food security programs.