I have lived in the North End community of Halifax for the past two and a half years. It’s a vibrant place that has often been neglected by businesses and government. The health of this community matters to me tremendously.
Community Carrot Co-op is a new project that aims to improve access to food for the North End by opening a community-owned grocery store in the heart of the neighbourhood. As they explain, this would have a huge impact on our quality of life:
We all know that when people don’t eat well on a regular basis, the entire community suffers. Children don’t do as well in school, adults don’t have as much energy or creativity to contribute to the community, overall health declines and costs to the medical and social welfare systems begin to escalate. Access to fresh food is crucial to the physical health of residents and the economic health of the neighbourhood. The Carrot Co-op is an innovative approach to ensuring that healthy, affordable food is a priority. The development of this social enterprise champions community resilience, pride and resourcefulness through community ownership and stewardship.
The North End has been a food desert for over 25 years. Without a full service grocery store many residents travel by bus or taxi to the nearest grocery chain over 2 km away. Too many end up eating the poor quality, more expensive, highly processed products easily available at local convenience stores.
The co-op is currently seeing funding through the Aviva Community Fund, which would allow it to open as soon as March. To gain the funding, the project needs to receive votes on the website and has already advanced to the semi-finals. Please consider voting for the project at Fighting for Healthy, Affordable Food in North End Halifax. Updates are available through the group’s Facebook page.
The value of community-owned ventures has been something I’ve been aware of for most of my life. I grew up in a community where a co-op grocery story and a credit union were central to the life of most people. I sincerely hope this project is successful to bring that kind of involvement and the benefits of quality, affordable food into this community.