Eat Local Grey Bruce: A Community of Local Producers and Consumers Making a Difference

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“Food is Life! People should be able to afford healthy food,” says Callum Batten, Outreach Manager of Eat Local Grey Bruce (ELGB).

It’s an ideal that we can all agree on. But how do we get there? What can we do as consumers? Are we willing to examine the social costs of purchased goods? Will we make decisions that can have a positive impact on our local community? Eat Local Grey Bruce is counting on it.

ELGB is an online farmers market that connects food buyers with food suppliers. Nearly 70 local farmers and producers offer a variety of merchandise including fresh organic produce, dairy products, baked goods, honey, humanely-raised meat and poultry free of growth hormones and much more in an online format. Customers can choose from over 500 products from the comfort of their homes. Each week, the producers ship their products to the warehouse in Owen Sound where they are sorted, packaged and delivered straight to the customer’s doorstep.

ELGB is not just about selling food. It is about building a local food system that is sustainable, ethical, considers the planet, builds food security for all and benefits agricultural biodiversity. It is also about community spirit. “Eat Local is as much about building relationships as it is about moving food,” says, Executive Director, Jeannine Kralt. She takes great pride in the fact that her children often recognize community members as the farmers and producers that provide their family with healthy and nutritious food.

As the customer base for Eat Local grows so does their ability to help provide healthy food to even more people. Later this month, ELGB is launching a new “Solidarity Model.” Recognizing that membership fees can pose a barrier for some, those costs are now being offered on a sliding scale or even free. This new model relies on higher-income earning customers getting into the co-operative spirit and choosing to pledge more for their memberships to benefit others. Customers will also have the option to purchase “Solidarity Tokens” with their regular shopping items. Those tokens are placed into a fund that can help other families with their grocery purchases.

ELGB has created a social enterprise business model that can work around the world. The mission and value system of this model aligns with many of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals including No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-Being, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Life on Land. They are helping farmers and producers achieve economic growth while promoting agricultural biodiversity; they foster innovation and technology to improve the health and wellness of their consumers and work within their community to ensure a level of inclusivity for their customer base. Eat Local Grey Bruce is a business that is making a positive impact on the health and well-being of its community.