Students make healthy food affordable
Published Saturday, April 30, 2016 5:53PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 30, 2016 6:45PM EDT
A group of University of Ottawa students, called Enactus uOttawa, are working together to bring healthier food options to community members.
The group has started Sprout, a pop-up health food section they plan to bring to convenience stores across Ottawa.
The Sprout team has developed a 6 month pilot program at the Remac convenience store. It is located at the corner of Cumberland St. and Stewart St. and surrounded by student housing.
“As students on a tight budget, we couldn’t really afford produce at the grocery store and on top of that it was inconvenient to go all the way there, so what we’ve developed is an opportunity to bring produce into convenience stores,” said Corey Ellis, the president of Enactus uOttawa.
Ellis said they are able to sell healthier food options, like fruits and vegetables, at a lower cost because they buy locally and do not need to pay rent or fees to sell their products.
He said prices vary depending on the product and season. As an example, an apple was going for 25 cents on Saturday.
“We’re offering available and affordable fresh food to food deserts and low income neighbourhoods around the city and we’re going that through the infrastructure of a corner store because those tend to be more abundant in these areas,” said Shevaun Ensor-Harrison with Enactus.
On top of providing the produce group also provides recipe cards with directions on how to prepare healthy meals. Ellis said all of the recipe cards take under 30 minutes to create.
Staff with Remac said the pilot is a win-win for their store, since they were already looking to include healthier options.
“We also were interested in doing the same, the only challenge we had was the suppliers around this area, it’s very hard to get suppliers to bring in fresh foods and also the spoilage right, so we needed the exposure” said Sen Yogen with Remac.
Yogen said he hopes the business model attracts all community members in the area, not only students.