Jackson Landers is a locavore hunter, author, teacher, guide, and local food and hunting activist. He lives in Virginia and teaches people how to hunt for food such as deer. He has also hunted invasive species including geese, feral pigs, starlings, iguanas, and nutria. He does work with the Slow Food movement and often travels to New York City to discuss how to prepare various game and invasive species, discussing such topics as how to break up a venison hind quarter. Many of the people who take his courses are people who have never lived outside of an urban environment or handled a gun. In his class for beginners on how to hunt deer for food he teaches ecology, ballistics, evolutionary history of deer, and anatomy. He has also written a book about hunting and preparing deer. He is currently writing a book on hunting and eating alien animal species. More information about what Jackson Landers does can be found on his blog called The Locavore Hunter at http://rule-303.blogspot.com/.
The Big Carrot is a worker owned organic co-op which provides one-stop shopping for organic food needs of Toronto-area residents. In the last six years there has been a huge increase in demand from customers for locally-grown food products. The co-op has grown from dealing with only individual farmers to dealing with wholesalers to meet the demands. They also work with artisanal food processors to sell their products. Processors selling to the co-op have sourced local flour in order to bake products. It is in a constant race with their customers. The Big Carrot features products from over 50 certified organic Ontario farms.
Patrick Conner started as a part-time cashier at The Big Carrot, got onto an ownership track, and now is a member-owner. The co-op has 65 owners at present. Mr. Conner discusses the co-op’s operation below.
Their customers range from back-to-the landers, old school hippies, to new Canadians searching for hard-to-find foods. It is very important to their customers that foods are sourced locally. While the Big Carrot has increased in size they are still “bursting at the seams.” There is a huge demand among their clientele for the carrot to replicate themselves. The co-op was Canada’s first retailer to be certified with Canada’s national organic standard which includes their produce, bulk dept., juice bar, kitchen, deli, and bakery.
The co-op examines each new innovation they make carefully to determine potential benefits and risks in their adoption including hot water heating from Bullfrog power to a waste audit they recently had performed. The Big Carrot has a standards committee which looks at the listing of new products and address any issues that arise if it has an ingredient that forces them to study it more closely, for example, any product that has potentially been genetically modified.
Mr. Conner believes that the integrity of the organic movement is its greatest asset. In supporting local agriculture, Mr. Conner cites the Organic Council of Ontario, which is attempting to reverse trend of raw product being shipped to U.S., processed, and then shipped back to Canada with the U.S. company charging a premium for this. Some products can be 100% Canadian, but consumers have to be comfortable with the fact that some products have to be sourced from outside the country. Listen to the rest of my interview with Patrick Conner of the Big Carrot in my next post.
Homestead Organics produces mixed grains for livestock feed for the poultry, dairy industry for Ontario, western Quebec, and New York state. They clean and process soybeans for soybean processors
Also supply cleaned soybean seed to soya milk industry which is used in the Natura and Soya nice organic brand of soy milk. Homestead also supplies feed to growers that supply Burnbrae with their organic eggs. Homestead Organics is located in Berwick, Ontario, ½ hour between Cornwall and Ottawa. Their website is www.homesteadorganics.ca. To hear my interview with Tom, click play.
My name is Walter and this is my blog dedicated to food. Local food. Organic food. Real food. The stories of people who grow it, process it, sell it, buy it, consume it. We will host information on where to get great food while giving you a real-life picture of how it got to your plate or shopping bag. We are interested in linking up with people who are interested in promoting local and sustainable food initiatives, with the ecological, economic, and social aspects of food production being discussed. Links to fantastic food producers, great recipes, and nutritional info that you can use - all these are part of this site.
Listen to the radio show “Locavore!” heard Thursdays at 10:30 am EST on CFRU 93.3 FM.
Homestead Organics is a company that supplies certified organic feed to livestock operators. It is currently developing Organic Central, a multi-faceted facility housing several different types of organic businesses.
Tom Manley, the driving force behind Homestead, believes strongly that certified organic should mean local as well. They purchase 2/3 of their grains within a two-hour drive of their farm. 1/3 of their grain comes from Western Canada.
Homestead customizes feed for animals. Different animals have different nutritional needs like humans at different stages in their growth cycle. For example, broiler chicken feed starts at high percentage of protein of 24% which gradually decreases to 18% and then16% as the chicken matures.
13 years ago when they started, their strategy was to grow big fast in order to maintain viability in a commodity-based business. Homestead wanted a leading market share in order to resist competition
Tom believes that a company can grow too big, too fast and it has to be managed. A major success is that Homestead Organics is still in business and thriving. Tom knew that there was a market for custom-made organic feed because of the work his parents did on the farm. The local bank would not initially support Tom, even though he had a strong business plan. Today Homestead Organics is assisted by the Business Development Corporation
Homestead works to achieve sustainability in its operation, both environmentally and financially. They buy and sell locally, mostly within a two-hour radius of the farm. Within Canada, the Soya nice milk product has Homestead Organics’ soybeans shipped by rail to Vancouver. On the financial side, they try to achieve sustainability by using appropriate cost control measures, capital planning, margins that give a fair return to lenders and investors, and fair take home pay for their employees.
Homestead is currently bursting at the seams. Their new project is called “Organic Central.” They are teaming up with other businesses to move into a common facility. Both government (IRAP) and private sector has helped out financially with funding for this project’s development. Other partners that will be operating under this one roof include a flour miller, food distributor, seed processor, and soya bean roaster and extractor. They are recruiting a local organic vegetable processor. Homestead is currently looking for support from private investors
Tom believes that the organic food industry must improve processing and distribution of locally-grown organic products. Their Organic Central is unique but there are good examples of companies doing it alone, for example, Organic Meadow, Mapleton’s Organic Ice Cream, Pfennings produce.