The Okotoks Food Bank is weighing in on the release of the new Canada Food Guide.

The guide has taken a more plant based approach to protein and an emphasis on fresh foods.

Pamela McLean, Executive Director of the Okotoks Food Bank, says the food bank already has a number of initiatives that are in line with the new guide.

"We have a Fresh Food of the Month program, we also make fresh homemade soup once a month and there's usually a beef based soup, a chicken based soup, and a vegetarian soup. We also have our beautiful community garden plot where last year we actually had over 1,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables."

While she says she understands the thought behind the new guide, McLean feels what she calls "western food heritage" wasn't taken into account.

"A lot of these guides are put together by scientists and they tend to forget they're preparing these for real people," she laughs. "So it's all well and good to say 'you must eat this' but I do believe that we still have to value our food heritage and out here in the west that means continuing to honour our animal protein producers."

McLean says it'll take some education if the government hopes to see people adapt to the updated resource.

"I will share that when our clients have a choice, sometimes, and this happens more often than I wish, but they specifically decline having beans in their hampers or having canned vegetables. I think we have a challenge and I think the Canada Food Guide has a challenge to start with more education in why and how."

The Okotoks Food Bank receives generous donations of meat and dairy from local producers and organizations on a regular basis.

For more information on what's included in a food hamper at the Okotoks Food Bank and how to donate click here.


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