The Mustard Seed now has a permanent spot for its Food Security Distribution Centre.
The non-profit organization purchased the centre at 102-808 Viewfield Road in Esquimalt with $2 million in provincial funding provided through the Victoria Foundation. The funding is part of a $3 million provincial grants to support the Victoria Foundation’s new Food Security Provincial Initiatives Fund. The fund is set to be used to expand food security programs and initiatives in communities throughout B.C.
The building is the central collection point for the Food Share Network, a collaboration of more than 50 organizations including non-profits, First Nations, school districts and other community agencies that operate food security programs in the area. The Mustard Seed has leased the space since 2017.
According to the provincial government and Mustard Seed, more than 1,815 kilograms of fresh food from grocery stores pass through the centre each day. The food is then redistributed to the Food Share Network partner programs across the region.
“When we waste food, we waste all of the additional resources it takes to get it to our tables,” Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said. “The partners in the Food Share Network have collaborated to create an innovative solution that keeps food on the plates of people who need it most. It’s about working together to tap into the large number of food resources in our region and create a sustainable food economy that works together to support everyone who lives here.”
The Mustard Seed and the Victoria Foundation said they plan to explore new opportunities “beyond the traditional food bank model” to support food-insecure families.
“The Mustard Seed is a well-known food bank in the community, but we have big goals for the distribution centre that go beyond the traditional food bank model,” Derek Pace, executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church, said.
“We’re working closely with other organizations to make the distribution centre an integral part of a sweeping network of services that provide fresh, healthy produce to families and connect them with programs that support opportunities in food literacy, education, employment and more.”