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The community of Bowden has established a “CAPRA Working Group”, made up of volunteers and Town Council representatives. Beginning in 2013, the community felt that food security was a key issue in Bowden, and so the CAPRA working group started a project called “Stretching Our Food Dollar Locally”.
In this project, the working group created:
A Community Garden:
Town Council granted to the group a plot of land adjacent to the FCSS office. The committee decided to start with 12 plots, and outlined the garden. An initial tilling was done. The idea was advertised to the community and Volunteers helped local seniors with weeding, etc. This idea sparked a lot of interest in the community and runs each year during the growing season.
Bulk Meat Buying:
A sub committee did research on local meat prices and approached several local butchers before deciding to go with a butcher from Olds (the next town south). He was willing to provide wholesale prices plus an additional 5% off to support the initiative. During July and August, BBQ meat packs were offered to the community consisting of premade beef patties and/or smokies. The volunteers picked up the packs and delivered right to people’s doors! Bulk meat buying was offered for two summers.
Good Food Box:
For a $10 yearly membership fee (waived in cases of need) and $20 for a large box or $10 for a small box, interested community members receive monthly fresh fruit and vegetable delivery. Each box contains 4 fruits and 6 vegetables. Local producers are sourced wherever possible. Volunteers pick up the food boxes and deliver them to Bowden and the program is in its third year.
Canning and Preserving Boot Camp:
This was a very popular idea! A local farmer (who also donated raspberries) was the teacher for this day, in which the attendees canned peaches, made raspberry jam and had a great tie learning all about canning. Each of the participants donated some of their jars to Bowden Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to be distributed to families in need.
The CAPRA working group was supported in its first year with a Choosewell Seed Grant which allowed volunteer mileage to be reimbursed, and to provide some funds for first year garden costs as well as canning supplies in order to keep costs minimal for participants.
The CAPRA Working Group, now known as the Stretching Our Food Dollar Locally group, have also held several Community Connection Dinners at which everyone is welcome and where SOFDL projects are promoted and CAPRA information is shared.