Note: Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the tour sites.
Wednesday November 29
The New Farm is a certified organic family farm near the village of Creemore. Farmers Gillian Flies and Brent Preston grow salads, beets, cucumbers and potatoes for restaurants and retail stores in southern Ontario on 20 acres of land. The tour will include a detailed overview of their growing systems, including washing and packing facilities, as well as discussion of their mechanization, labour system, marketing and sales strategies and financial details. Participants will tour The New Farm Kitchen, an on-farm event and education space that was constructed last year to the highest energy efficiency standards. Gillian and Brent will also describe their ongoing partnership with The Stop Community Food Centre and Community Food Centres Canada. The New Farm is a profitable, mid-size, wholesale-focused farm — come see how it works.
2. Eat Local Grey Bruce – Warehouse
396 – 14th Street West,
Owen Sound, ON
Eat Local Grey Bruce is an online farmers market and home delivery service, and acts as a micro food hub. Eat Local sells a diverse range of food products from farmers in the Grey Bruce area on an online platform. Products sold online are then aggregated to our warehouse and delivered to homes and pickup locations. Eat Local handles fresh, frozen, and refrigerated goods and guarantees a seemless cooling chain.
Eat Local is a farmer-driven cooperative that aims at establishing a short and value-based food chain from farm to fork. The coop guarantees a minimum of marketing effort by individual producers, and almost no food waste. Eat Local also created 4 part time jobs for managing the online store, driving, warehouse management, and packaging. Through this cooperative, farmers take distribution into their own hands without relying on middlemen. Farmers save on marketing time because their products are usually picked up farm-gate. It reduces the reliance on farmers markets, offers a marketing venue outside of the farmers market season, and allows marketing of small volumes. Consumers benefit from fresh food and convenient “dinner solutions” via frozen food or dinner bundles, in addition to home delivery.
A panel of Eat Local Grey Bruce directors and the instigator Thorsten Arnold will lay out how the coop was started, initial successes, experiences of farmer members, and challenges that the board of directors is currently facing. The panel will also lay out barriers and opportunities toward scaling up sales through other buyers. This would require a shift from our current operation (under the regulatory exemption for direct sales/farmers market) toward wholesaling in short value-based chains.