Thanks to the diligent duo, David and Laura Laing of People Power, four low-income families will now be provided with a bag of fresh vegetables each week.
“Lower-income families end up eating lower quality food,” said David Laing, who tends the garden space at the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-op, along with his wife Laura.
In efforts to give families healthier alternatives, they have decided to embark on a new project, calling it Bags of Plenty.
How it works: Four (one family has already signed up) low-income families or individuals will receive one bag of vegetables, valued at $20, for a period of 13 weeks starting in July.
“This is the first time we are doing an initiative such as this to give back to the community,” said Laura. “We are able to do this through sponsorships and other fundraising efforts. In the past, we have donated bins of vegetables to places such as the women’s shelter, so they could distribute it to clients. I have been involved with other community garden projects such as the Forest Grove Elementary School garden and we have also just gone door-to-door and handed out vegetables.”
The couple feels that food should be considered a basic human right.
“I understand everything has a price tag in the society we live in but the basic needs of humanity should be met,” said Laing, in a warm tone of voice. “I don’t like seeing people go hungry. We are trying to approach food from a human rights perspective. We believe food should be a right and that people have access to it, regardless of their income.”
When it comes to organic vegetables and other foods, Laing said it’s the upper-middle class and wealthier individuals that can actually afford those healthier alternatives.
“Lower-income families are stuck eating Kraft Dinner or whatever else is the cheapest,” said Laing. “Everybody should have access to healthy, nutritious and organic food – even if they can’t afford to buy it.”
“If it was possible I would forget about selling food and just feed as many people as we can, but like everybody else, we have to pay bills and have our own family to look after as well,” Laura added.
The Laing’s have been living at the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-op for two years. This will be their second season optimizing the garden space on the property with more than 15 different vegetables growing.
Laura said the vegetables have just started to grow and will be ready to harvest towards the end of June.
“We want to be able to provide ten different varieties of vegetables each week,” said Laing. “We are willing to make arrangements depending on what the client needs, whether we have to drop it off somewhere in town, the farmers market, etc. We don’t intend on asking people what their circumstances are. If someone contacts us, saying they need this, we will believe that they need it.”
It will be on a first-come-first-served basis to determine the remaining families or individuals who will receive the bags of vegetables each week. The Laings also have a partnership with the local food bank. Once the vegetables have been harvested, the food bank will purchase food from the farm and it will go toward those who need it most in the community.
“It feels great to contribute and give back to the community,” said Laura. “People have been helping us so we can what we do. It’s amazing when you put yourself out there to help people, often people will help you too. It’s overwhelming how generous people can be.”
For more information about the program or to apply contact the Laings at 250-397-2852.