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Hello, my name is Renee Delaney from Small Scale Farms, and I am a Farmer.
To me what that means is that I sow seeds. Throughout my journey of the past 7 years, with the help of many others along the way, I have been developing a collaborative food system for the Niagara region.
1. I learned how to grow food.
2. I researched what Niagara grows, and how they grow it.
3. I networked with members from across the Niagara community, and as a result, have learned who's who, and what role every member plays.
4. I engaged in a unique opportunity to evaluate the economy. I understand the power that various currencies, including food, time, and skill sharing, have in our community.
On my journey I found leaders, researchers, marketers, politicians, teachers, farmers, distributors, doctors, nurses, nonprofits, charities, institutions, churches, residents, bankers, realtors, builders, environmentalists, publicists, journalists, activists, tradespeople, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, students, children and many more. All of these people have helped me come to but one conclusion:
We all eat.
I see the value in growing our own food, partnering with farmers, working markets, cooking food, distributing food. Now, after hard work and continual sowing of seeds, we are ecstatic to announce we have established a new permanent home, with 2 acres to grow on, 2 hoop houses to grow in, and a 3000 square foot market FOOD HUB building.
We really feel this is amazing timing for our community, and we are ready for the next step.
No matter where we each stand in this community, we can agree to come together on the topic of healthy food. Local distribution allows for the farmers to stay farmers, so they do not have to be marketers. We know we need them for what they do best. It's up to us to say thank you, and the best way I could figure out how was to develop a system that supports them. The FOOD HUB is that system.
Now, I'm hoping you're going to support me, and the many others who have helped get us here.
Since day one, our focus has been on collaborating with community leaders with the mindset that we already know what our community needs, we just need to create it. The problem is that there are obstacles in the way of a solution. It is challenging to work together. It needs to be approached holistically, but with an organized, business-minded perspective. The region's function needs to be assessed and addressed as a whole. These obstacles are not easy to overcome, but one item connects us all and provides a solution: food.
Food is at the heart and soul of every community and economy. However, the people who need healthy food the most, are being fed the worst.
It just doesn't work.
For us, our new Food Hub helps us to make sense of it all, and solidifies our efforts to establish a home base both physically and online, effectively showcasing what we have been working on for the past 7 years: A multi-vendor distribution centre, designed to showcase local farmers and businesses.
Our online model streamlines distribution for everyone who is connected to us. Furthermore, it is easy to measure our participation and reach within the community, which makes the model easier to understand and engage in. Our main goals remain with helping residents to be able to easily access products, services and resources from local sources. Our profits remain for the purpose of giving back; to always feed those in our community who cannot afford to pay.
We partner with Farmers, Local Artisans, Government, Colleges, Universities, Coffee shops, Bakeries, Restaurants, Mills, Butchers, Suppliers, Greenhouses, Microgreen Growers, Wineries, Beekeepers, Politicians, Nonprofits, Mental Health Workers, Social Services, Hospitals, Textile Waste Diversion, Researchers, Builders, and Marketers/Web Designers. We partner with everyone who wants to make a difference in our community.
And now we want to show you why, and how.
Our model is inclusive to collaborators that have the skills, resources, passion and courage to push the boundary on what innovation in communities should, and could be. We believe the momentum and opportunity that comes from such networking, should be paid forward.
Our food distribution system has been designed step by step, from the ground up. Transparency has been built into the model, so you can see for yourself, and trust in where our products come from. Moving forward, this is of utmost importance to us, because it will prove exactly how far of a reach your investment into your community through your purchase of local goods, actually has.
As always our key partners will remain farmers, who are the core focus of the Collaborative Food Hub. Making this process as easy as possible for them has always been a top priority. Now, with the ease of an online application form, we can communicate with multiple farmers, and upload their products one by one as they become available. Bulk buying most certainly has its advantages.
The Food Hub works like a virtual Farmer's Market. In partnership with the farmers, we advertise and sell their local, healthy products to the community, and distribute through deliveries.
Preparing meals with both local meat and produce positions us as a purchaser of sustainable products. We can also make use of the "seconds market," effectively eliminating a ton of waste. Food that would otherwise be thrown out can now be purchased and prepared, then distributed through existing community channels, most of which are in dire need of healthy food.
Even more so now, I am sure.
Over the past few years, we have operated out of the Allanburg Community Centre to cook our prepared meals. We have also cooked out of many other locations including churches, schools and other community centres across the Niagara Region, donating food for special events. We have learned much about our community and how food connects us all together.
This past month, we secured a permanent location from one of our partners, who is now our landlord, on 19 acres of land, 2 of which we are able to grow on, including 2 hoop houses and a storefront to sell locally made goods and initiatives.
We are now calling on our community to help make this new food hub a dream location.
We need your support. Now, more than ever, we recognize Niagara is going to need food and WE want to grow it for you. We are ready and able to do the marketing for our local farmers, to find the best deals for everyone, to purchase from the farmers, and to ensure the farmers are properly paid for their very essential work. This is the role of a Food Hub: we become food brokers; we track everything; because knowing who grows what, matters.
At this time, we are counting our blessings it is spring. We have a massive opportunity to make a MASSIVE impact and improve our food system, right here, right now. We value our farmers and can support a more sustainable channel through which we can grow, distribute and employ our way to a healthier community, and a healthier life, all from a local design.
Your financial contributions will also help us secure distribution/partnership with both the mainstream growers and small scale farmers in Niagara. Our main goal is to build wholesale/retail relationships, buy in bulk, and then distribute in the most efficient way possible. We can do this with the same intent: to each profit; to each grow in abundance, collectively.
Your support will also help with the purchase of various equipment needed, to install a commercial kitchen in the Food Hub building. This kitchen will become an integral part of the dream location plan for the Food Hub, in order to provide prepared meals for all members of the community - those who can purchase for convenience and health reasons, and those who are in need of healthy food.
We have designed our contribution packages to include incentives that encourage you to continually support farmers and local business because through your very own support, you are in turn supported.
We have gift cards, CSA/Farm Shares, Membership Packages and local product, all as a thank you for believing we can be who makes this happen. Together.
Your contribution not only supports local business, it helps us build habitat for bees, and to pass along a healthy meal for someone in need of healthy food.
It is extremely important at this time that we increase our reach. If you know of someone who could help us further our mission please do us a huge favour and pass along our information. We are currently looking for those in our community who want to make a gigantic impact towards genuinely rebuilding our community from the ground up.
Together, anything is possible.
As you know, there are many obstacles surrounding our food system here in Niagara. These obstacles existed before, but are being revealed and intensified during this COVID-19 crisis. We want to reassure you that our crew has been working around the clock to bring you what you are going to need to either comply or stay safe, and that is: efficient, online ordering, and safe delivery of healthy food.
We see it like this: You need to buy food. Why NOT help support our community through the purchase of local goods?
We will be communicating our needs on a day by day, week by week basis via our Facebook page and website updates. Please be sure to read all the details you can, but if you still have a question, feel free to reach out.
Please be patient with us if you ask a question and we do not respond
immediately, as this is a time of extreme growth and change. We ask
for your understanding as we piece it all together.
For those of you looking to lend a hand, feel free to reach out personally and let us know where you may see yourself helping. There is a lot of research happening, and a lot of outreach to be done. Any help in this area would be much appreciated as it will help us to further our cause.
It's the people who live here that make up this community. Let's show the world what we are made of.
HighlightsSee all activity17
Farm in a Box, an in ground 30'x30' installed native or vegetable garden for schools, businesses, and residents.
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