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JILL ELLSWORTH: Healthy eating on wheels

From left, Good Food Bus co-ordinator, Emma Jerrott and Claire Turpin, New Dawn Enterprises project manager, pick up the Good Food Bus before the retrofit.
From left, Good Food Bus co-ordinator, Emma Jerrott and Claire Turpin, New Dawn Enterprises project manager, pick up the Good Food Bus before the retrofit. - Contributed

Bringing healthy and affordable options to Cape Breton Island

I feel privileged to have grown up in a household where food wasn’t something I had to worry about. Healthy foods and home-cooked meals were something so customary that I took them for granted. As an adult, I now understand that this food experience isn’t universal, even right here in Nova Scotia.

Although Nova Scotia is growing as a leader in the area of food security, many of our community members still don’t have access to healthy and nutritious food options, due to cost, access, or a number of other contributing factors. There is always room for improvement and initiatives that encourage greater food security and affordable options. Emma Jerrott and her team are leading one such initiative that aims to bring healthy and affordable food products to communities across Cape Breton Island. 

An example of the produce offered at Halifax's Mobile Food Market, where Emma spent time volunteering to learn their processes and tips.
An example of the produce offered at Halifax's Mobile Food Market, where Emma spent time volunteering to learn their processes and tips.

The Good Food Bus is a pilot project created by a committee of representatives from New Dawn, Ecology Action Centre, United Way Cape Breton, the Nova Scotia Health Authority, CBRM recreation, transit and council, The Island Food Network and A Better Bite Community Kitchen. This stacked team of community-minded individuals has come together to develop the project, which is expected to launch on Friday (Sept. 6) in Sydney.

The Good Food Bus is a retrofitted, accessible bus which will transport fruits and vegetables to communities on a bi-weekly basis. Modelled after Halifax’s successful Mobile Food Market the Good Food Bus aims to ease barriers to accessing healthy options, by bringing an affordable fresh food market on wheels to Cape Breton communities. We have so many delicious food trucks parked throughout the Island, but let’s face it, they’re serving up greasy comfort food. I’m excited to see how a similar concept works out when fries and hotdogs are replaced with fresh produce.

A behind the scenes shot, getting the Good Food Bus ready for it's new function.
A behind the scenes shot, getting the Good Food Bus ready for it's new function.

As the project co-ordinator, Jerrott has been responsible for everything from coordinating the retrofit, securing the food through grocery partners and organizing volunteers to maintain the program following its launch.

“The Good Food Bus is an important initiative to bring to Cape Breton for many reasons,” says Jerrott. “Many of us have struggled with food security at some point in our lives and this project is working toward easing barriers to accessing good, healthy food. Some people have trouble with transportation and getting themselves to a grocery store, so we thought that bringing the food to the people might help them add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.”

The Good Food Bus will be on route to several communities throughout the CBRM beginning next week, and I can’t wait to check it out and spread the word about this exciting new project. I love watching inspiring young professionals like Jerrott work to make a difference in their own communities. It makes me proud to be from Cape Breton, and excited to continue to watch it grow and develop as a new generation takes the lead.

To learn more about the Good Food Bus, check out their Facebook Page.

Jill Ellsworth is a writer and communications specialist who lives in Dominion, N.S. Her column appears biweekly across the SaltWire Network. She can be reached at jillellsworth94@gmail.com.


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