Food Bank/Store Front:
The service delivery model of the food bank will make this unique to Alberta. The food bank will be in the 3000 square foot storefront. It will be setup to reflect a general store floor plan and store experience. The intention of the layout and service model is to maximize a person’s autonomy while allowing for a dignified way to access food bank services. The store hours and accessibility will be modeled with every effort made to replicate the experience of grocery shopping. People will be able to select the food and items they require to meet their individual nutritional needs.
The facility includes a roughly 6000 square foot greenhouse that will be used to grow an array of fruits, vegetables, and grains to provide fresh stock for the Food Bank. The produce grown will be year-round and specifically selected to provide access to meet the nutritional requirements highlighted in the Canadian Food Guide. A portion of the greenhouse will be designated to aquaculture to raise a sustainable protein for the Food Bank.
The greenhouse will also provide an opportunity to showcase innovative environmental practices/technology.
A full kitchen will be available to prepare food for individual, food bank, and other community needs and to allow for guidance/support to encourage nutritional balance. The growing space will provide community members access and opportunity to contribute to the food grown for the food bank while experiencing all the health benefits that comes with gardening, promoting autonomy and maintaining individual dignity. The greenhouse will provide a location to facilitate; youth groups, land stewardship/protection/conservation groups, safety workshops and environmental practices related to this project.
Mission and Mandate:
Rock Soup Greenhouse and Food Bank’s mission is to address food insecurity in Wetaskiwin and surrounding areas from a perspective unique to any other food bank in Alberta. This is accomplished by addressing these barriers in the current food bank system:
- The current food bank system is delivered from a non-secular, governmental service provider. This presents barriers to those who have experienced systemic and or multigenerational systemic trauma.
- The current food bank service model is restrictive, intrusive, and undignified. Individuals must prove and provide a significant amount of personal information to be able to access service, not to mention the food. The process to obtain the to the food is restrictive, and without autonomy or consideration to individual nutritional requirements.
- The current system lacks sustainable access to fresh produce and in providing individual access to food access in accordance with the Canadian Food Guide’s nutritional recommendations.
Our mandate is to provide food security in a way that normalizes and dignifies access to healthy food while putting individual autonomy in the forefront.
- Rock Soup is a grassroots non-profit, intentionally secular and separate of government, thus minimizing the potential systemic re-traumatization.
- The food bank is setup as a general store with hours of operation and access to groceries intended to replicate the shopping experience. There will be no personal information or documentation required to access food and any information retained by Rock Soup would be volunteered and only used for what it was consented for ie; testimonials, feedback, social media contributions, general statistics for funding purposes.
- Rock Soup had an attached greenhouse that will provide individuals with access to year-round sustainable produce. The greenhouse is intended to balance community donation with the intentionality required to provide individuals with access to food that meets the nutritional standard in accordance with the Canadian Food Guide.
Our work will be informed by understanding the trauma related to these 3 identified truths.
- Non-secular and governmental institutions are connected to generational and multigenerational trauma as well as many of the social determinants of health.
- Current service delivery system has several identified barriers that dissuade individual access obtaining sustainable intentional food security.
- Undignified and intrusive requirements to be able to access
- Hours of operation
- Disbursement of food/hamper style
- The food distributed does not meet nutritional standards of the individual situation and needs
- The Canadian Food Guide presents a clear example of the disparity in access to nutritional food to people across socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Access to sustainable produce, grains, and proteins
- Knowledge and understanding of how to prepare nutritional meals
- Autonomy to make the Food Guide work for their individual situation/needs
Rock Soup addresses these truths by working from an intentional grass roots structure, free of informational or income related requirements providing access to food security to anyone, period!
Access to food is done in shopping setting with individuals free to select the items that make sense for them, with hours of operation to reflect that setting.
Rock Soup’s attached Greenhouse has 6000 square feet dedicated to sustainable produce, grains, and proteins for the store.
Rock Soup provides space for community engagement, education, related to preparation of meals and nutritional balance in accordance with the Canadian Food Guide