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Local eating made easy with Food First NL's new map of community gardens and markets

Want your next meal to be as fresh and local as possible? A new map of the province’s sources of fresh food, including community gardens and farmers’ markets, makes that easier.

The map, which also lists community food banks and places that offer free food, was developed by First First NL, a non-profit organization that works with communities across the province to ensure access to healthy, affordable food. Users can enter their location and find options for food close to them.

Those options are plentiful thanks to the roughly 90 collective community gardens, 60 food banks and community freezers, eight farmers’ markets, and the more than a dozen establishments offering free or low-cost meals, says Sarah Crocker, the group’s project coordinator. 

Food First NL has run the Healthy Eating in NL Resource Centre, which points users to online resources evaluated by dietitians, Crocker told CBC Radio’s On The Go. This map builds on that and adds a new resource.

“We’re looking at revamping these to really meet the needs of community organizers so that you can set up and run successful food programs,” she said.

Crocker said community food gardens are the most requested things Food First NL is asked to locate. 

Health authorities, municipalities and community groups are increasing their efforts to identify community gardens as not only a place for food production but also for inclusion, social engagement and building a sense of place — a community resource, she said.

Food First NL has posted a map on its website directing people to community gardens, farmers’ markets, food banks and free and low-cost meal options. (Food First NL)

But, the effort toward creating this map didn’t come from Food First NL alone. 

Crocker attributes much of the data, and a helping hand, on the map to Food Banks Canada, Canadian Conservation Corps and community organizers who answered emails and fielded phone calls. 

“A lot of hands have been involved with this project. So we’re really thankful for all that great support,” she said.

Sarah Crocker is Food First NL’s project coordinator (Paula Gale/CBC)

Colour coordination helps users quickly find the food options they are looking for: green pins for community gardens, yellow for food banks and community freezers, blue for farmers’ markets, purple for free or low-cost meals. 

For those interested you can find Food First NL’s food map online.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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