BC Ministry of Health
Produce Availability Initiative – Program Development
A comprehensive program bears fruit
When you’re dealing with complex, multi-phased initiatives bringing together numerous partners and areas of expertise, making it all run smoothly is a challenge at the best of times. And when the programs in question are reaching out to serve the most remote communities in the province, that challenge becomes even more magnified. We were up to the task.
In 2008, the British Columbia government made a commitment to improve the year-round availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the hardest to reach communities of the province. Following through on this commitment, the BC Ministry of Health set up a task force to develop a strategic plan to deliver on the pledge. Context was contracted to lead the development of the plan.
The wide-ranging initiative encompassed nine different project components, over three successive funding years. Working with various partner organizations – most notably the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon – we were responsible for managing projects within the initiative, evaluating outcomes, and providing continuous strategic oversight.
Context’s skills in stakeholder relations and innovative evaluation methods enabled us to develop solid relationships with the multitude of partners and stakeholders engaged in and benefiting from the projects at both the community and industry level. And through this initiative we enabled the Ministry of Health to realize its vision of plentiful availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in the hardest to reach communities in the province.
To improve the year-round availability and quality of fruits and vegetables, including BC produce when available, in remote BC communities
- Getting it Growing
The First Nations Community Garden initiative invited remote First Nations communities to apply for funding to start their community gardens and greenhouses. Seventeen communities in total received funding, and we worked with these communities through the growing season, helping to manage the various projects. By the end of 2011 growing season, all 17 communities had gardens in various stages of production.
- Remote Community Projects
Seven remote communities participated in pilot initiatives involving community-initiated projects ranging from “farm-to-community salad bar” school lunch programs to community-supported agriculture projects in which the communities worked with local farmers to grow and distribute local produce.