LUSH Valley is hoping to put down permanent roots.
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.
“It was a challenge – we need a space so badly, and renting has been a challenge.”
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.
For Prato, having a permanent home is a huge benefit for LUSH.
“We’re working out of public spaces at the moment and with everything opening up now through the end of summer it would be great to have that space ready for the fall – to have that kind of certainty is something you don’t have with other places.”
She noted if they can indeed secure the building, having an asset for LUSH “would take the organization to a whole other level.”
Prato said they can’t announce the location for the building yet as they are working on the permitting process and ensuring some of their logistical requirements will work for the space. Part of the process is also ensuring the building is in a central location for pick up and drops offs and for stakeholders such as the local farmers they work with.
In order to secure the property, the organization has launched its inaugural capital fundraising campaign. Throughout the next three years, LUSH will be working to raise half a million dollars.
The first target it to raise $65,000 by the end of August. They are kicking off their fundraising by hosting Meals For A Deal every Wednesday night throughout the summer in partnership with Farmer’s Kitchen Food Truck at 1255 McPhee Avenue between 5 to 8 p.m. beginning July 14.
Meals will be $35 each and can be pre-purchased online at https://bit.ly/3xYxhjA
“This is a great opportunity, but we need the support of our community to make it happen. With their help we can end our three-year search for a forever home and secure the space we need to continue our food security work in the Comox Valley,” said Prato.