When Michael Buffet saw how successful his free cooking classes were at the Canadian Mental Health Association in 2016, he knew it was time to expand. Thus, the Start Fresh Project Society began. Start Fresh runs the CAFE (Culinary and Farm Education) program to create long term employment opportunities to those that have struggled with homelessness or addiction through culinary and sustainable farming education.

With $5,800 from Interior Savings’ Community Investment Fund, Start Fresh was able to develop their half acre non-profit farm. An integral part of CAFE’s success, Start Fresh used the funds to purchase seedlings, perennial shrubs and trees, pest netting, and other necessary farm tools, which would help them to be self-sustaining in the future.

Start Fresh proudly shared with us that the third group of participants in the CAFE program will be graduating in a few weeks. Upon graduation, CAFE’s team will be assisting the students’ transition into secured paid work positions within the community.

Learn more about Start Fresh Project Society and the amazing work they’re doing:

Feeling inspired? Here’s how you can get involved with Start Fresh and CAFE:

  • If you have a food or farm based business, learn how you can hire CAFE graduates by contacting info@startfreshporject.ca
  • Donations are always welcome and graciously accepted at startfreshproject.com
  • Attend a cooking class at the Start Fresh Kitchen. These classes help to fund the CAFE program!
  • Join the Start Fresh Project Board of Directors


Do you know of a program that could benefit from our Community Investment Fund? Learn how we can help here.