what is Project Roots?
Project Roots offers an opportunity for students to purchase a bundle of second grade produce for a fraction of the cost it would be for produce in a supermarket.
No one should be going hungry
Did you know 1 in 8 households in Canada are food insecure? This means that food security effects over four million Canadians! At the same time, 40% of all produce in Canada is wasted on an annual basis. This extreme food waste is because of how our country manages second-grade produce. This produce is fresh, highly nutritious, and, well, ugly. Grocery stores won’t sell it because of cosmetic standards, which won’t accept bruises or scrapes. With no buyer in sight, farmers are left to haul the produce off to landfills or leave it in the fields to rot.
Our solution to food insecurity and food waste? Project Roots
We partnered with Farm Bound, a Vernon-based supplier, to create the U-Box. It’s a $20 produce box for everyone at UBC Okanagan. The box is packed with 10-20 pounds of organic, second-grade produce, for 40-60% of the grocery store price! We offer a mixed produce box, as well as a fruit-only box. Boxes are subscription based, with weekly, biweekly, or monthly options. You can cancel at any time or opt to ‘skip a week’ if you’re going on holiday.
Pick-ups are available every Monday from 2pm to 4:30pm in the EME foyer at UBC Okanagan from September to April. Please note that you should set a reminder on your phone because we do not have space to store boxes if no one picks up the order. After our booth time ends, we donate all food to the Food Exchange, located on the 3rd floor UNC. You are responsible for your order. If there are extraneous circumstances of some sort, please contact us in advance and we will try to work out a solution with you.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! Anyone can buy the U-box, even if they do not work or study here. Pick-up location is only at the university campus however.
The produce in the U-box is not always pretty, but it has the quality and flavor that you would expect from any grocery store – or even better, because it is grown organically, and a lot of the produce is local. If you are ever unhappy with produce quality, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Farm Bound (email@example.com) and we will address the issue right away.
The contents of the box change weekly and seasonally. In the winter you will be getting a lot of squash, while in spring you can expect more broccoli. In general, there is usually some type of lettuce or cabbage, some root vegetables, fruit, and then other items. In the fruit boxes there are usually apples, bananas, oranges, and then a variety of other fresh fruit. Sometimes even coconut!
One of the sacrifices of such a low price point is that there are no bespoke U-Boxes. We encourage trading items with other buyers in person or on the Roots Community Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProjectRootsEnactusUBCO/)! You can also order directly from the website and customize your order according to your needs, but the discount will not apply.
Currently, the UBC Okanagan campus is our one and only distribution point.