SHOP (Second Harvest Outreach Program) is an innovative food sharing program that brings excess, fresh produce, that otherwise would go to waste, to people living in “food deserts” and areas of high need in Toronto.
What is SHOP?
SHOP launched in the spring of 2011 in partnership with Flemingdon Park Ministry and Food Access Project. Flemingdon Park has been recognized as a “food desert” because there is no affordable grocery store within walking distance within the community and a high percentage of the population lives below the poverty line. The need for this program exists in other high priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. Second Harvest plans to expand SHOP throughout the city and further connect those in need with healthy, fresh food.
What is a Food Desert?
Neighbourhoods that do not have access to good quality and affordable food are labeled “food deserts”. ¹ In Toronto, food deserts are a major issue for priority neighbourhoods like Flemingdon Park, Lawrence Heights, Steeles-L’Amoureaux and others.
How does SHOP work?
Second Harvest partners with community groups like food banks and health centres to distribute excess, fresh fruit and vegetables in a farmers’ market style environment. Registered food recipients are invited to shop for quantities of produce based on the size of their families. Those needing food assistance can register through their local community agency or food bank. All the produce is free to recipients and is donated by the Ontario Food Terminal, along with other food donors, and delivered by Second Harvest.
What are the benefits of SHOP?
SHOP increases food accessibility in the community by getting fresh food into the hands of those who need it most. The program also provides engagement opportunities for people in the neighbourhood to get involved and volunteer.
¹ Whelan, A., Wrigley, N., Warm, D. & Cannings, E. (2002). Life in a ‘Food Desert’ Urban Studies 39(11), 2083-2100.