One CDC strategic plan priority is to address food insecurity in low income neighbourhoods through the development of mobile food markets. When we began engagement on that strategy, we became aware of Fresh Routes’ efforts to bring its successful Calgary-based mobile food markets to Edmonton.
Rather than create a competing initiative, the CDC decided to get behind these current efforts and do what we could to create a permanent and viable Edmonton-based Fresh Routes.
Starting as a pilot project in Calgary in 2018, Fresh Routes has grown quickly and now offers mobile grocery stores/mobile markets at approximately 60 locations, with Edmonton currently having 15 locations.
Fresh Routes made its Edmonton debut in October 2019, and, in keeping with our vision to help neighborhoods attain a quality of life that is healthy, sustainable, and attractive, Edmonton CDC approached the Fresh Routes team to identify partnership possibilities.
In March 2020 a partnership was formalized that includes a financial investment by the CDC in this innovative social enterprise that will help Fresh Routes buy an Edmonton-based truck, write grant applications, assist with business planning, and undertake a visioning process for acquiring or building a local warehouse and explore the feasibility of an alternative grocery store.
Fresh Routes is a great example of community members mobilizing to address community needs in innovative and sustainable ways, and the Edmonton CDC is pleased to help grow a sustainable mobile grocery store system in Edmonton.