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Calgary non-profits team up to increase access to healthy foods

Two Calgary organizations have partnered to improve access to healthy and affordable food.

The Arusha Centre and Fresh Routes mobile grocery store have teamed up so Calgarians can use Calgary Dollars to pay for the healthy food.

This comes as the Canada Food Price Report for 2022 came out showing most Canadian families will pay nearly $1,000 more for food next year.

Calgary Dollars are a local physical and digital currency operated by the non-profit Arusha Centre. It promotes participation with local businesses. The currency can only be used at member businesses in Calgary.  They also have a rewards program that can help members earn Calgary Dollars with each local purchase.

“This is all about collaboration. The marriage of our organizations resulting in something innovative and powerful for all Calgarians. For better food access and a localized robust economy,” said Jared Blustien, Program Manager with the Arusha Centre.

Fresh Routes is a local non-profit focused on reaching into communities with food access issues. They provide healthy and nutritious goods. Fresh Routes operates a fleet of vehicles, including a refurbished Calgary Transit bus, as mobile markets.

“Affordable food access is so important these days with the price of groceries on the rise,” said Lourdes Juan, Interim CEO, Fresh Routes.

“Fresh Routes co-creates the mobile markets with non-profits and the partnership with Calgary Dollars is part of our vision of collaboration to get equitable food access to Calgarians that need it most.”

The groups will be hosting a mobile market at the Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Centre on Dec. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.