Plan B Newsletter July 14/2021

Now that summer is in full swing and folks are able to get out and about it’s going to get really busy for all of us. Here’s hoping for a great summer! 

This will be our very last Good Food Box. The gardens are starting to produce and the grocery stores are safe to go back to. We will be turning our attention to other Plan B ventures. Stay tuned! If you only got the newsletter through your good food box please let us know how we can get one to you. A big round of appreciation to the Perth and District Community Foundation who made the subsidies possible.

To break down this year’s efforts with the Good Food Box we have brought some numbers together.

The first chart shows how many boxes of which size were sold in total. The second chart shows how many of those were subsidized either in full ($25, $20, or $15) or partially.


In summary for the months of Jan-June 2021

Cost of fruit and vegetables=$15,064.73

Cost of eggs=$1060.57

Total income in Sales=$8725.00

Total income in Donations=$825.00

Total Perth and District Community Foundation=$1,983.33



Final Balance = -$2,691.97

Please stay in touch, we still want to hear from you and see you as often as we can. Drop me a line, anytime. My home phone is 613-259-5495. Don’t forget to register for the solar workshop on the 26th. We only have a few spots left. Check the website for more information. See you soon! Have a great summer.

Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435

Alternative resources (not affiliated with Plan B):

Fresh Food Box at The Table – it has all the info for ordering (the website has an order form too).

And, links to Lanark Local Flavour markets and list of local farms:

And more links here:

Plan B Presents: Solar Panel Workshop

July 24th 1PM-4PM

Come and learn how to build a basic solar systems to charge a cell phone, power an electric fence or have the power for a basic camping trip.

Snacks and coffee will be provided.

$25 per person

$40 for 2

Outside of 61 Owen St, Lanark

All proceeds go to Plan B, towards more community initiatives in the Lanark Highlands.

Limited Participation, please call (613) 434-4435 or email to join us! RSVP by July 17th. Payment can be made by email money transfer to or at the event.

Solar Panel Workshop

There is no one-size-fits all when it comes to solar power. This hands-on workshop will show you how to build a system that will meet your needs!

This workshop will show you how to:

  • do the one off project of building a basic system to power a camping trip or simply charge a cell phone
  • build a system that can power an off-grid house
  • answer some of the confusion around questions like:
    1. How much power do I need?
    2. Watts vs Amps?
    3. Pure sine wave vs modified sine wave?

About the presenter

Barry became a solar power enthusiast when he bought an electric bike back in 2005. He wanted to not only pollute less, but have a way to go back and forth to work with zero emissions. The solution was to create a basic solar system that would charge a battery all day, and at night he would be able to charge the electric bike’s battery. Just like that, zero emissions, fully electric and solar powered.

Today, Barry and his family live complete off-grid using solar power with all the modern equipment; computers, an electric fridge, and even an electric deep freezer!

It can be all done using just solar power!

Plan B in the Lanark Highlands Newsletter June 30/2021

Probably the most common greeting these days must be “hot enough for ya?” Yes, I believe it is definitely hot enough! If anyone can think of a way to trap some of it for January I think we should go for it. Life is returning to a little bit of normal and seeing each other is wonderful. Although the storm is not past, it is packing its bags, and it looks like we got through it. Finally. We all deserve to give ourselves a standing ovation.

Weathering the pandemic has taken a toll on many, and in many different ways. Some folks have found some very creative ways to get through it all and we’re hoping to hear all about it. For others the hurdles have been high and we’re hoping to hear about that too. When the whole community works at those hurdles they’re diminished a lot faster.

One of the struggles Plan B has had is the needs of the community have never gone away. We exist solely to facilitate and promote community. We believe that if a community is inclusive and supportive of its members, incredible things can happen. We’ve all seen it happen, so we all know how it works. 

Plan B has been active throughout the past couple of years in many ways besides the Good Food Box. Although this has been our focus, we have continued the garden with new initiatives, home food preservation in the Jamboree, CropSharing, phone contact, and doing what we can. Our volunteers work tirelessly. (thanks guys) What we haven’t done is fundraising.

We are now at a point where we must do something. We will be offering a workshop on July 24th as a fundraiser. Please see the flyer and come out, it will be great! We will also be taking eggs out of the Good Food Box effective immediately. Eggs were never supposed to be included, we included them as a fresh food item to help folks avoid having to go into stores.

This summer the Jamboree has made Peach Chia Jam, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Haskap Jam, Pickled Scapes and canned both peaches and pears. Because of the limited size of the groups working together none of these events were advertised. They were made instead by people already in contact with each other. The garden will soon be producing (we grew our own haskaps!) and the Jamboree will get more active. We are also able to open things up a bit. Please contact us if you would like to be contacted for our events. There is no charge but we have added a donation box for anyone who wants/is able to help out.

As always, we want to hear from you. We want to hear what we’re doing right and we want to hear some constructive feedback. We want to know if there is something you think we should be doing. We have lots of ideas but it would be so much better if they came from you. Send me an email with your thoughts, I would love to hear them.


Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To order a Good Food Box or learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435


A warm and friendly greeting to everyone out there. We have had a fundraising suggestion to host a “pick your own” caterpillars and sell them by the pound. Unfortunately we won’t be able to follow through with social distancing requirements. 😉

Like everything else in the world, Plan B is slowly coming back to life. We are carefully following health protocols to keep everyone safe but are eager for services to start up again. As the province lowers restrictions we are able to enjoy more of the things we have been accustomed to doing. The garden is especially magnificent this year. A big cheer for the volunteers there. As a community organization we promote working as allies with other organizations where our missions and goals overlap. Last year our garden began the process of working more closely with The Table Community Food Centre, and this year that alliance has been strengthened. A big “shout out” to everyone there.

The JamBee Jamboree has started in small doses. The new community kitchen opens with sliding doors into the yard where folks are able to prep food to bring into the kitchen, which is open aired. People are easily able to social distance or stay outside completely. Groups are kept very small (4maximum) and “bubbles” are preferred. The Jamboree has canned peaches, made Peach Chia Seed Jam and a tiny amount of Haskap jam made from the haskaps we have grown. Everyone is invited to participate. There is no cost involved but we are forced to put up a donation box. 

As produce comes from the garden eventually CropSharing will be happening. If you want your name on the list of folks contacted when produce is available, please be sure to let us know.

Plan B is certainly enjoying the efforts of the three staff we have hired through the federal Summer Employment Program. We welcome them and hope to see them around long after their contracts are completed.

The Good Food Box remains a popular program. It would help us a great deal if folks could send/bring their boxes back the following GFB day. We have a difficult time ensuring there are enough. It is very important to pick up your box on time. If for some reason you aren’t able to, please make alternate arrangements. We don’t want to wait all day for you. There is quite often people wanting to buy boxes on GFB day and it is far more expedient for us to sell them than wait in case someone comes to pick it up.

From everything we have heard, things are going smoothly. If there are concerns we need to hear about them. Normally, when an organization finally gets to hear about a concern, it has been festering for quite some time and/or is shared by many. It is our hope we don’t have to get to that point and can deal with issues as they happen. I think you will find all of us super receptive and we have pretty thick skins. If talking to someone makes you uncomfortable, send an email. For anonymity, write it down and put it in the donation box. Whatever works.

Please continue to stay in touch, just chatting is welcome. We are working very hard to clarify who and what our organization is and welcome input. Sometime in the fall we will be asking folks to step forward as potential board members. 

As a side and personal note-I want to visit and hear every single person who has contacted me recently. Because of personal circumstances and the abundance of Plan B goings-on I’m not sure if I’m coming or going. I am not ignoring you and please don’t give up. Keep calling and say “for goodness sake-just sit down a minute a listen.”  Seriously, sometimes that’s what it takes. Have a wonderful two weeks.

Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To order a Good Food Box or learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435

Good Food Box Newsletter June 2, 2021

Welcome to June! Hopefully the frost is done and the gypsy moths find somewhere else to go. Folks are being quite inventive on that particular battle ground, but it does seem a losing cause sometimes. At least the birds are happy, someone should be. Many of us had some losses due to the frost. The community garden didn’t escape but we are fortunate in that we didn’t lose more than we can readily replace. Thank you to those with offers of plants.

A reminder that food box pick up ends at 1:00 pm unless you have made other arrangements. Quite often we are able to sell extra produce on food box day, so if we haven’t heard from you, and we still have your box at 1 pm, we may make it available to someone else. Also, volunteers may not be available for you to pick up after 1 if they don’t have notice. We do have other things to do!

There are 3 food box days in June, it is the second day that the potato option is available. Next time (June 16) you may choose to get something other than potatoes. Because we have heard some feel they get too many potatoes we are offering this option. We are not able to say what it will be in advance. Some of you have already indicated that you are opting for this, and if you are interested just let us know.

We are currently working on defining our mission statement so that it is clear for everyone. It states that we are working “Towards an even more supportive and inclusive community.” We are interested in breaking down exactly what “supportive” and “inclusive” mean. Input from you would be very welcome-in fact it would be vital. We are using resources that have examined these questions including the new proclamation from the County for Pride month which aligns with our philosophies. FoodShare has presented an excellent resource in terms of body positivity.  It is important that we are consistently moving towards a better understanding and acceptance of what we say we believe in, and work together as a supportive and inclusive community to realize the goals we set for ourselves. Although I think we all realize this is going to be a bit bumpy, it is something to really wrap our heads around. Let’s have discussion! Let’s share opinions! None of us can benefit from the wisdom of anyone else if we aren’t willing to share both our knowledge and our questions.

The JamBee Jamboree will be starting up. We have been getting some enquiries and it seems as if we will be able to offer small groups, in an outside setting. For those interested please contact us. Some arrangements have already been made for single households to begin working together. Safety is primary, our health must be protected. Safety protocols will be expected and it is preferred if “bubbles” come together. We will, of course, be following all legislation. As always, children are more than welcome.

Financial break down for May 2021

Quattrocchi’sMay 5 $1021.66payment for boxes$1595.00
May 19 $990.84Perth & District Community Foundation$300
Total Expenses$2184.25Total Income$1895.00

Balance= -$289.25  (I’m sure we all see the issue here!)

Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To order a Good Food Box or learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435

Good Food Box Newsletter May 19/2021

So – this newsletter begins with a big oops. On Good Food Box Day the newsletter made it to all the boxes that were handed out. Before the online version was posted there was a bit of an accident and things got a bit messed up, communication lines were mangled. We apologize sincerely for the delay to everyone who gets the newsletter via email or reads it on our web page. We can still guarantee we mean everything we said then! Happy delayed reading.

Good Food Box Newsletter

May 19/2021

Happy Good Food Box Day everyone! I’m sure we are all enjoying our slide into summer. The best cure for our long isolation is that we now get outside and see our neighbours to share some smiles. We can be a bit prickly in the spring after hibernating so the smiles are certainly needed, we’ll all have to bring out any reserves we have stored away 😊

There has been discussion around potatoes. Some feel that we are getting too many, but some feel it’s just about right. Special orders get difficult to keep track of as there is already a surprising amount of paperwork and record keeping to do. What we are proposing is that if you feel you are getting too many potatoes, we can put you on the replacement list. This would mean that every other Good Food Box your potatoes would be replaced with something else of equivalent (approx.) value.

Unfortunately we can’t take special orders for what goes in to replace the potatoes nor can we give advance notice of what the exchange will be as we have only so much choice but we hope to change it fairly regularly. For example, there have been some who have clearly stated that they would prefer something else, so this week instead of potatoes, they will get cauliflower.

The decision around being on the replacement list needs to be made beforehand, and once made, we will assume that is where you will be until you tell us otherwise. Potatoes will be replaced on the 2nd GFB of the month. The next Good Food Box will be June 2 with no changes. On June 16 there will be the option of replacing potatoes with a different item.

We have been successful in an application for the Summer Youth Employment Program and will be hiring 3 people aged 15 to 30. These positions pay $14.50 hourly. There will be 2 part time positions at the community garden for 16 weeks and 1 full time position for 8 weeks office/clerical related. Applications will be accepted until June 4.

Plan B enjoys working with some incredible partners. Our community garden team is bolstered by the support of The Table Community Food Centre. Our mutual objective of facilitating a sustainable, secure food supply powered by the community it supports allows us both to explore innovative avenues of bringing our food supply to our own back doors. Through sharing ideas, knowledge, resources and skills we increase what we can do exponentially. Thank you for your support.

Another major partner is the Perth and District Community Foundation. For several years they have been the cornerstone of our financial resources, funding projects every year we have been around. It is worth noting that although financial statements may read “PDCF $300” this is a monthly contribution. The annual contribution for 2021 is in fact $3400 and goes specifically to the subsidizing of Good Food Boxes. What we do would not be possible without their support, thank you.

Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To order a Good Food Box or learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435

Good Food Box Newsletter May 5/2021

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?        Pilgrims. (I should probably apologize for that.)

We have heard from some folks that they are getting too many potatoes and onions and that perhaps there are other things they would like to see in the food boxes. It might be possible to do some rearranging-no guarantees-but we’d like some input. On the other hand, we certainly don’t want to fix what ain’t broke. Our contact info is at the end of this newsletter and it would be very helpful to hear from you what you want.

The Jamboree, CropSharing and Garden season are all but here. Go to our website to find out details and get involved! We are always looking for new ideas as well so if there is something we can help facilitate by all means, let us know. Of course, everything has to be modified with covid in mind, safety is always a priority.

We still have a few tomato and cucumber plants to share for our “rhubarb”garden. This is where people care for the plants until harvest at their home, and share the harvest with us who then extend it out to the community as a whole. Anyone interested in participating in any way is more than welcome.

Financial update and clarification. Some of you have been asking about the subsidies and what they are and who gets them. If you are paying for your box at the set price (large $25, small $20, and fruit or vegetable bags $15) not only are you covering the cost of your box, you are contributing a dollar (or so) to the subsidized boxes. The expectation for those receiving a subsidy is that they contribute when they can. It is community supporting each other.

Sometimes, like this week, there are a few extras. We don’t buy these. They are donations given to us to share, and so we share them. When we come together and support initiatives like this one, it makes it easier for other organizations who might have a bit extra now and then to add to the pot.

Our April income statement looks like this:

Food expenses $2052.43

Donations $500.00

Perth and District Community Foundation Grant $300.00

Income from sales of boxes $1505.00

Balance of $252.57

We are on the right track. Thank you to everyone for their help.

Through the Canada Summer Jobs initiative, we will be hiring 3 youth. The age range is 15-30, 2 people for the community garden and 1 person for a more clerical position. More comprehensive job descriptions will be sent out soon.

We are planning ahead to possible fund raisers. Please share your ideas. One item to consider is a possible yard sale or silent auction. We have held an auction in the past which was very successful. We will need everyone to check their basements and attics for possible items to donate. Another great item is a skill. For example, 2 hours of housecleaning or perhaps 2 hours of yard work. I know I could certainly benefit from both!

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy!

Melanie Mills, Plan B,

To order a Good Food Box or learn more about Plan B in the Lanark Highlands:

Call or text: 613-434-4435

Plan B Newsletter April 21, 2021

I’ll try to make this greeting extra warm and friendly to make up for the cold and snow outside. It will be gone soon.

I would like to remind everyone that following the new lock down orders is a priority for us. Not only to simply follow the regulations but to keep everyone safe. We have been in contact with the Health Unit and will continue the Good Food Box program only as long as folks are able to help us follow protocol. Please maintain safe distancing and do not stop to chat with others. Getting in touch with others can be done elsewhere, not at the Good Food Box site.

Pick up your box one at a time and be extra patient. To reduce the number of volunteers we will have fewer people to hand out the boxes and will rely more heavily on you to carry yours to your car. We will get through this!

Thank you to those who have sent in their thoughts concerning our finances. Everyone’s input is greatly appreciated. What I may not have brought forward very well is that, as a community organization, Plan B relies on the community to support their own initiatives. We have implemented some cost saving strategies and hope that those receiving a subsidy are honest and responsible in their request.

Our philosophy dictates that we put no one through demeaning, intrusive questioning in order to get support. We all know that no matter how careful, how stringent applications are, there will be those who are able to squeak by to take advantage. 

Our system is honouring the integrity of participants. All of us need help of one kind or another eventually. There is no process for anyone to have to submit to in order to get help, but there is an expectation of responsibility that folks will contribute when they can.

Our aim is to foster and grow community initiatives that work. An imitative that cannot support itself is simply one that cannot work. There are some volunteers working very hard to keep everything going. They do this because they want to, and because the joy of volunteering is a reward in itself.

Plan B’s objective is not to provide a service, but rather to facilitate the community working together to achieve goals. Where this is successful the project continues. Currently the Good Food Box is struggling to find ways to be successful. Some ways that might help are the sale of more boxes. The more people who buy a box the better our financial position as each box has a tiny profit. The other is less subsidies. Do you require all the food you are getting and can you contribute a bit more financially.

There is no one at Plan B who has any interest in questioning anyone about what they receive. There is also no one interested in chasing folks for payment. Most of all, there is no one interested in taking away needed support.  We are counting on you. This is how community works.

Happy Volunteer Week!!! And thanks to everyone for everything they do. We have some tomato plants (thanks Cassandra!) to share hoping to see some harvest come back for our canning. Let us know if you’re interested.

Melanie Mills

For Plan B            613-434-4435

Good Food Box Newsletter April 7/2021

Good morning! And what a lovely one it is. I can’t help remembering that silly little poem from childhood:

Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The birdies is.

Probably not a great classic but it comes to mind every spring nonetheless. This newsletter has been painful to put together and I apologize for it in advance. However, I had to write it so you have to read it. Don’t make me have to twist any arms. (just kidding, I hate reading financial updates, too)

Throughout the history of Plan B folks have been encouraged to check our books and to feel free to ask questions about our finances but it rarely happened. As we spread our wings a bit, we feel it is even more important for everyone to really be aware of how we spend money. As a community organization we are accountable to the community. Remember we are a vagabond group doing our best with little or no training in accounting. We accept pointers!

Two points of interest to share. The Table CFC is starting a new gardening project to help folks start or improve their gardens at home. They have all kinds of supports available and if you are interested
Contact Joanna at the Table: or call 613 267 6428×28

The other is that the income tax clinic is still running for lower income households. (under 35,000 annually for an individual) A very painless, smooth operation. Contact 257-7619 x 3200 or 3104

I am looking for a volunteer interested in doing some varathaneing on trim in our new kitchen and another to get the herb garden ready. We hope to have the greenhouse together within the next few days, however we are assembling it with supplies we have rather than making more purchases. Anyone with expertise or construction materials to donate-now’s the time!


And now for the awful part. This covers the 1st quarter of 2021. (Jan, Feb, Mar) As this is unsustainable adjustments will have to be made. Suggestions/support are welcome.

Chart #1; total income:$5,798.33
Chart #2; total expenses:$8,436.81
Expected income:$700.00
GFB Salesetransfer$2,730.00
Plan B income.
Plan B expenses.

Good Food Box Newsletter March 24/2021

We had a real taste of spring these last few days and I’ll wager many of you did what I did. Basked in the sun like a lizard on a rock. I could feel the vitamin D seeping into the corners of every blood vessel. (that makes an interesting picture, blood vessels with corners?!?)

Today is the day we launch the gardening project at Sacred Heart school where the kids are participating in community gardening by starting seeds for us. I would like to invite any children in the community who would like to participate to let us know. We provide everything needed right down to the soil. There is information explaining what the child is growing and why. It’s a really fun project. There is no cost and heaps and bushels of benefits.

The project has been loosely designed for elementary school aged kids but can certainly be modified up or down to fit most age groups.

Questions have been asked about income tax receipts for donations to Plan B. We are still negotiating with CRA so for the time being the North Lanark Health Clinic has been graciously stepping in to help us out. Sometimes the process gets complicated so we have engineered a smoother one.

Let me know (Melanie) that you would like to make a donation to Plan B and require a tax receipt. I will take it to the Health Centre (which has changed it’s name to ConnectWell) And give it to a specific person who will follow it’s trajectory through the channels. 

This makes it easier for us as we work on a shoestring budget. Like some of you I have become very adept at working at a low or non existent bank balance and it is helpful to know how much money might be coming in. It also gives me the opportunity to express my gratitude in person. These donations make what we do possible.

It also makes things easier for Connect Well as they have a big budget (yes, I’m jealous sometimes!!) and it can get complicated for them to keep track of donations and receipts for another organization. It is generous of them to do this at all so we want to streamline the process as much as possible.

This whole process is a wonderful example of how community, and the organizations within it, work together to make possible what is needed. A big thanks to everyone involved. 

This new wave of Covid-19 has put a fatigue in voices that seems to continue to escalate. We are tired. The news doesn’t seem to have anything good to say. All of us want to get back to our real lives. This “hug drought” is driving me crazy. My dog is going to leave home if I continue to hug her so much, I need people back!

We are getting there. Please reach out. On Tuesdays from 11  to 1 p.m. we have an online women’s group. Women can also phone in. I love chatting on the phone and I know there are others who do as well. Keep connected. It is the strength of our community and the individuals within it that will get us through.

Just because it might seem that we are all alone, people care. Sometimes people don’t seem to care simply because they don’t know. It’s up to all of us to tell each other what is going on, what is happening. No one can be supportive if no one knows the need. My home phone is 613-259-5495 and I’m home all the time.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Melanie Mills for Plan B 


For peer support navigating services: 

Community Advocacy Office at The Table, 613-267-6428 x29,