~si_Foodbags - Minaker
Shannon Forsyth packs bags. Dedicated volunteers offer healthy eating alternatives to the community.

As the cost of food rises and the cheapest foods are often the unhealthiest, Perth students offer a better alternative.

Since 2014 Shannon Forsyth, Social Service Student Worker, with the backing of the sustainability club, has endeavoured to provide fresh produce at reasonable prices to anyone interested in joining the Good Food Bag program.

“There is a saying that students are starving,” Forsyth said. “This has bothered me for a long time and when I entered school and actually met students who were struggling to eat well it made me want to help.”

With the assistance of fellow students Craig McGowan, Kelley Denham, Maggie Bauereiss and Laurie Quilty, the team sorts and organizes delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables to the college.

Produce varies with the season but include many common staples such as potatoes, onions, apples and oranges.

Packages are available ranging from $20 for a large bag, $15 for a small or $6 for a vegetable or fruit-only bag. The average savings are roughly 50 per cent McGowan estimated, although the prices can fluctuate depending on how many people are participating.

“If more people participate we can buy more,” said McGowan. Buying in bulk through Smiths Falls-based J. Quattrocchi & Co. Ltd. allows savings to be passed on to students, he explained.

Forsyth and her team hope to see the program become sustainable in the college after they graduate and have begun grooming the next generation to take their place.

Anyone interested in participating can access the program through the Algonquin SA. Orders are taken on the fourth week of each month and the deliveries are received the following week.

As an interesting note, the bags used to package the individual orders support a program in India dedicated to removing women from the sex trade. Additional information on the program is available through http://freesetglobal.com/ .