November 25, 2016 4:52 pm
Updated: November 25, 2016 5:52 pm

North end Halifax youth getting set to launch food subscription service

Square Roots will be celebrating their launch on Saturday by offering free bundles of fresh produce at the George Dixon Centre in Halifax.

Jennifer Grudic / Global Halifax
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Mikel Kelsie and Cortrel Thomas are turning their knack for entrepreneurship into something bigger — offering affordable fresh fruits and vegetables to people in Halifax.

The pair is getting ready to launch “Square Roots” — a bi-weekly subscription delivery service that will offer fresh produce at a discounted price.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia leads country for food bank use

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“We had a pitch competition and I wanted to address food waste and find a solution for that. We can definitely cater to the people, they are having barriers for purchasing healthy food,” said Kelsie, a long-time north end resident.

“This is where I’m from. So we just wanted to pilot it where we’re from, which is also a low-income community where we can reach out to people that have barriers with buying cheap vegetables.”

On Saturday they’re holding a launch event at the George Dixon Centre in Halifax. They want people to bring their family and friends to learn about how they can help reduce food waste and prepare easy meals. They will also be giving away nearly 200 bundles of fresh fruits and vegetables for free.

“It means a lot to me to be launching a business where I grew up. Not only does it make me feel proud, I know that it will reach out to other people growing up in the community and maybe they’ll be inspired to do something along this line,” said Kelsie.

READ MORE: Halifax ranked lowest city in Canada for food affordability

The idea grew out of the Enactus Saint Mary’s Options: Youth program, of which both Kelsie and Thomas were participants over the summer.

“What we want to do is launch social enterprises where the demographics that we work with can feel empowered to own and operate themselves with the support of Enactus,” said Mitch Harrison, co-president of Enactus Saint Mary’s.

Over the past few months they’ve been working together to turn the idea into a reality, securing a partnership with a farm in the Annapolis Valley that will supply fresh produce at a discounted price.

“By being situated in a province with an abundance of agricultural resources, we wanted to turn this into a simple solution where we can essentially take what’s forgotten and turn it into something people can really benefit from,” Harrison said.

READ MORE: 8 so-called ‘healthy’ foods registered dietitians wouldn’t (or rarely) eat

The launch event is set to take place between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday at the George Dixon Centre on Brunswick St. There will also be members of the Square Roots teams passing out bags of produce downtown near Victoria Park and a pick-up location at the Saint Mary’s University student union building.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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