LUSH Valley’s goal to put down permanent roots recently took another step in the right direction earlier this month.
The organization that aims to increase local food system skills, knowledge and access has found a building to call home, pending permitting and particular requirements, said Maurita Prato, executive director of the organization.
The 2,252 sq ft space would provide certainty for the organization’s operations moving forward, which they have been without for the past five years.
Shortly after the offer was accepted for the property from the organization (pending conditions), LUSH Valley received $10,000 towards the down payment from a major donor. The donation was followed by a $5,000 gift from another supporter.
The major donor said she was not exposed to farming or vegetable gardening in her suburban childhood in the U.S. and said she grew up believing food came from the supermarket, usually canned or frozen. She volunteered on a farm while visiting the Comox Valley and the experience was transformational.
According to LUSH, she now calls the Comox Valley home and is passionate about local foods, agriculture and food security.
“Working with LUSH Valley for the past 15 years, I recognize the need for a permanent and secure home for gathering, storing and redistributing local food,” she noted.
“I have a vision of a long-term, secure space that benefits local farmers, producers, processors and people dealing with food insecurity: a space that offers a commercial kitchen and storage as well as spaces for education and community. I feel so strongly about this organization that I am willing and committed to investing in its long-term success and I hope others in the Valley will do the same.”
Maurita Prato, executive director of LUSH noted if everything goes as planned, they should have confirmation about the space within the next few weeks.
Last year, LUSH was able to use the Comox Valley Curling Club for its Good Food Box program, which began in 2019 as a pilot program, serving 50 people for 10 weeks. There have been more than 10,000 deliveries of boxes so far every other week, with nearly 60 households on the waitlist.
The boxes are “healthy hampers” that contain fresh food and some staple foods.
Additionally, the organization used space inside the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay.
In order to assist with fundraising, LUSH is also hosting a fundraiser in conjunction with The Farmers Kitchen Food Truck. The truck will be on location at 1255 McPhee Ave. between 5 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday throughout the summer with meals for purchase. For more information or to purchase a dinner ticket in advance, visit https://bit.ly/3xVrRpO.
For more information on LUSH Valley, visit lushvalley.org.