Helping everyone have an equal shot at every day.
Rock Soup Green House and Food Bank is a safe space where people can connect with food, health, and each other. Located in Wetaskawin, Alberta, they began in 2020 to fill the food bank gap for the rural communities that surround Edmonton. What's unique about Rock Soup is that they are a grass roots non-profit that's intentionally secular and separate from the government to ensure access to anyone who needs their services—free from any requirements or judgements.
Keep reading to learn more about this inspiring true story of inclusion, dignity, and connection.
What is Rock Soup's mission and how did you get started?
Our mission is to provide essential services such as food, hygiene, and menstrual products in a dignified fashion. To us, dignity looks like a grocery store model where food bank users are able to choose products according to their personal needs. No registration or intrusive questions are asked. We started out as a small community wanting to grow a garden so that fresh produce could be donated to local food banks. Then our outlook changed as we saw red tape that people have to go through, so starting as a garden in 2019 The Rock Soup Greenhouse and Food Bank were able to find a 10000 square foot greenhouse space that opened December 24, 2020. Our Rock Soup family has only grown and the experiences we’ve been able to curate have been nothing short of life-changing.
What do you do to bring your mission to life?
Our name comes from a story that can be called “Stone soup” or “Axe soup”. Basically, we start with a rock in a pot, and by itself, that’s not edible, but everyone comes along and adds something to the pot in order to create a meal for everyone to share. We are sustained by our volunteers, by the very people that use our services, and by like-minded organizations wanting to create change. Only together is it possible to create Rock Soup.
Why is it important to have period products available at Rock Soup?
Whether you can afford it or not, if you are able to menstruate it is going to happen. Just because one might not be able to afford it, doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve access to menstrual products. We serve such a large customer base and it is a highly requested product among the food insecure.
What does having joni period care available for distribution mean for Rock Soup?
It means that we are able to provide sustainable menstrual products when often our shelves are empty. It means we have customers that can leave knowing their needs are being taken care of.
What accomplishment is Rock Soup most proud of?
We are most proud of the access we provide. The fact that no information is required in order to shop is life-changing for people. There was an instance where a customer had tears in their eyes because they were encouraged to take more food in order to feed their family the proper amount.
How important to Rock Soup are partnerships with social enterprises like joni?
It’s incredibly impactful. It’s a humbling experience to reach out and ask for support, and to have another unique diverse company that has the desire to accomplish the same goal is truly beautiful.
What can people do in their own communities to support period equity?
Raise awareness about period equity and reach out to local organizations that work towards providing access to menstrual products. Anyone can hear a story and be inspired to make a change. Whether you start your own charity or purchase an extra package of pads to donate, or advocate about essential products that aren’t accessible to everyone in your community, we all have the power to create positive change.
Would you like to become a "souper"? Rock Soup welcomes generous, passionate, and determined people—like you—who understand that everyone deserves the same chance to access food. You can help through monetary donations, food donations, volunteering, and growing food. Learn more about how you can get involved with Rock Soup here.