Better Food Co. supports the local food system with local chefs

In this follow-up, we check out the charity food initiative Better Food Co., which uses local chefs to create on-the-go meals that support Hope House

The Better Food Company believes that everyone has the right to healthy food.

With the help of top local chefs, the vision is to build a better food system where food is healthy, accessible and shared.

Better Food Company was launched in 2021 by Hope House, in collaboration with Justin Chan, the owner of the Community Company.

Each month, The Better Food Company accepts pre-orders for its made-in-Guelph meals, which are prepared in Hope House’s commercial kitchen by local chefs.

Most of the ingredients used are grown in the Hope House market garden at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre.

“Since this started, the goal has been to generate income for Hope House and support our community food work,” Chan said.

“This month, what really excites us is that we can use some of our produce that we have harvested from the Hope House garden, such as carrots, onions, as well as local maple syrup. To be able to showcase local foods created by local chefs and then support our local food system, that’s really what we’re trying to do,” Chan said.

This month’s meals are prepared by Chef Dan Baker, owner of DeliciousDirect, and his Canadian Maple Chili is on the menu.

“I’m thrilled to share this meal with our community because any little thing I can do to help address our community’s food insecurity issue, I consider it an honor,” Baker said.

Chan says that when customers buy a meal, they’re not just buying a delicious, local meal, but also something that supports the entire food system.

“The goal is to create a community food system that showcases the power of locally grown foods and how they can impact the community,” Chan said.

“I think a lot of us feel disconnected from our food systems, and this is an initiative that really celebrates what can be grown and made in our own backyards.”

Meals can be purchased online. Proceeds from the meals support Hope House’s community food work, which includes its food market and market garden.

For those who are food insecure, meals are also offered free of charge through the Hope House Community Food Market.

Hope House shares 15,000 pounds of produce a year through its food market. Proceeds from meal sales support the Hope House garden which grows food for the community and also supports those who are food insecure.

“I think what’s been most incredibly reflected so far is the community support and enthusiasm we have for the project,” Chan said.

“Additionally, proceeds from our meal sales enable our community chef to prepare meals with specific dietary needs for those who are food insecure and to prepare additional meals for those in need,” Chan said. .

Chan says many customers buy monthly meals as a “meal adventure,” not knowing what to expect from month to month.

And some customers reunite with friends monthly when they pick up their meals and enjoy them together as a way to connect.

“It’s great to hear how eager and excited our customers are to try the meals,” Chan said.

“And it’s really amazing to hear that we’ve created something meaningful.”