A program in Dartmouth is helping low-income residents eat more fruit and vegetables at a fraction of the grocery store price.

The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre provides three meals a week. On Saturday mornings, the centre doubles its duty by offering a produce market for up to 100 clients.

Eva England says it has allowed her to purchase food she can't afford elsewhere.

"Today cauliflower is 75 cents. How much is cauliflower in the grocery store? $5.49. Very good prices. It's a big difference," said England.

Program rather than profit

Manager Deborah Dickey says it's not a money-making venture. Instead, it's a program to help people in the neighbourhood put food in their fridge.

"Every Friday, we do quite a large bulk purchase at wholesale costs," she said.

Dartmouth market volunteer

Vel Oakes volunteers each week at the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, where she is also a client. Oakes says the centre is providing a great service for low-income residents who can't walk 20 minutes to the nearest grocery store. (Angela MacIvor/CBC News)

"We get all of the produce here, then we're reselling to the community at the same price that we bought it for."

Dickey says the produce is divided and sold in smaller quantities, which also helps drive down the cost.

The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre also runs a free café on Saturdays to showcase how different vegetables can be used.

Life-changing experience

For England, it's been a life-changing experience.

"Before I came here — I'm almost 66 years old— I never ate tomatoes. I never ate cauliflower, onions, peppers. Now I eat all of that stuff," she said.

Vel Oakes eats at the centre weekly, and volunteers her time in the kitchen.

"I think the north-end needed this. I mean they took our Sobeys away a while ago and Wyse Road may not seem that far, but when you're on foot, 20 minutes is a long way to go and try to carry produce," said Oakes.

The centre is located at 6 Primrose St. in Dartmouth. 

Food Market

The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre holds a discount produce market on Saturday mornings for clients, as well as a healthy free meal. (Angela MacIvor/CBC)

Clarifications

  • The Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is not affiliated with the Dartmouth North Community Centre. They are two separate organizations.
    Feb 29, 2016 3:45 PM AT