Our Community Bonds Launch!

Our Community Bonds Launch!

As many of you know from our website & recent events, we have been working on launching our Community Bonds campaign! We are excited to invite you all to our official launch on December 3rd at 4 pm at the Eat Local Grey Bruce Warehouse in Meaford with an online option to join also.

Come learn about why we are launching this campaign, what you are supporting by investing, the available bond options, and more! We will have a formal presentation at 4pm, and a time for questions & networking with our staff and Board of Directors. We will have drinks & food available and can give a tour of our warehouse for folks who have not seen it before. 

A bit about what a community bond is; A Community Bond is an interest-bearing loan that allows supporters to align their investments with their values while enjoying competitive returns. An investment in our Community Bond Campaign allows you to build a more equitable economy by putting your dollars behind a cause you believe in. By joining our community bonds campaign, you are supporting us in our continued growth. The funding received through community bonds will help us to purchase critical infrastructure that supports the growth needed to succeed long term and continue to create sustainable food systems. 

We recommend masks & are excited to welcome you!
**Entrance is off William St., Door #16

Callum Batten, ELGB Outreach Manager

Reducing Waste at Eat Local Grey Bruce

Reducing Waste at Eat Local Grey Bruce

Sustainability is one of our core co-operative values at Eat Local Grey Bruce. One of the ways we put this value into action is through our waste reduction initiatives – we care greatly about our environmental footprint and invest notable effort into reducing our overall waste.

Did you know that despite the size of our operation, we generally only have one bag of garbage per week? We do generate a couple of bins worth of recycling per week, mostly paper, and continue to work on bringing this amount down as well.

Food Waste

We are most proud of how we’ve managed to offset food waste. We often say that ELGB is as much about building relationships as it is about moving food, and our food waste reduction efforts put this philosophy into action.

We partnered earlier this year to become the home of the Meaford Community Fridge. This program is an initiative of the Community Garden Network of The Sustainability Project, and makes use of a fridge donated by the United Way of Bruce Grey (artwork by Billy Goodkat). Food for the fridge is provided by a combination of community food and garden programs, local gardeners, and ELGB. Members of the community are welcome to come and drop off goods, or take what they need, no questions asked. The fridge is replenished on a weekly basis, with goods that will not last into the following week dropped off at OSHaRE, a community meal program based in Owen Sound, along with any items at ELGB that are nearing expiry or are still fresh but will not remain saleable the following week.

Some of our produce that is past its prime and not ideal for meal programs gets used as animal feed. We do generally have a small amount of composting on a weekly basis – usually part of a standard Meaford green bin’s worth. We continue to aim to catch these items prior to them reaching this state and emphasize offloading as much as possible to be used in the previously mentioned initiatives.

Order Packaging

The pandemic saw us have to shelve our beloved green bags in favour of paper bags for a time. A phased approach to return to more sustainable order packaging options is on the horizon! We are finally ready to call our green bags home – it has been fun seeing the many ways they’ve been in use out in the community over the past couple of years, however we know that several of you have been patiently waiting to return these bags – the time has come! Please feel free to leave them out for your next expected delivery, leave them at the drop spot location you make use of, drop them by our warehouse in Meaford, or get in touch  to make arrangements.

We hope to make use of our classic green bags as freezer bags by later this year. Their insulative properties certainly make them more suitable for this purpose than paper bags, and we’re sure that folks won’t mind accessing their goods via zipper as opposed to wrestling with staples.

We will be continuing to use paper bags for all other goods for the time being. We were able to source new delivery bins using funds from the Government of Canada’s Local Food Infrastructure Fund. While we currently only use these bins to hold paper bags of orders in our van, we hope to pilot use of our bins at select drop spots at a future time (orders will be packed in bins, and folks can bring their own bags to transport goods home, leaving the bins at the drop spot). Use of bins for home deliveries will be reserved for a later time, once we have the capital funds required to purchase more bins and a suitable tracking system, and the resources lined up to roll the system out. Our upcoming Community Bonds Campaign aims to raise capital for these and other important initiatives! 

Bulk Dry Goods

After quite a wait (including a fortuitous delay due to contractor availability that meant we didn’t invest in upgrades in our old warehouse prior to our having to relocate) we are finally getting ready to launch our improved dry goods packaging!  Under this new system, plastic clamshells will have gone the way of the dinosaur, with reusable mason jars and paper bags taking their place. Stay tuned for announcements in the coming weeks – we anticipate launch of the program later this fall.

Get Involved

As a non-profit co-operative, we are happy to engage membership participation and are happy for volunteers. If you would be interested in joining our Waste Reduction Committee, or helping with these initiatives at the warehouse level, please send a note to Jeannine, our Executive Director.

Partnership with Harvest Impact

Eat Local Grey Bruce Food Co-operative receives $20,000 loan from Harvest Impact by 10C

Social finance investment will fund launch of community bond campaign.
Guelph, Tuesday, October 4, 2022 – Harvest Impact Fund by 10C is pleased to announce a social finance loan of $20,000 to support Eat Local Grey Bruce Food Co-operative (ELGB) to support the launch of a new community bond campaign.

Eat Local Grey Bruce is a non-profit cooperative that distributes healthy, locally produced food to Grey, Bruce/Saugeen and part of Simcoe County. It is a vibrant community of eaters, growers and makers of food, supporting each other in their commitment to local food production, ecological practices, healthy eating and meaningful employment.

Many of ELGB’s producer members are small- to mid-scale, diversified farms working to grow and raise food with an emphasis on environmental stewardship.
ELGB intends to turn the $20,000 loan from Harvest Impact into $200,000 of community bond investment– allowing all members of the co-operative and region to invest in this next stage of growth.

“Our community bonds campaign will be instrumental in positioning Eat Local Grey Bruce for sustainable growth now and into the future. The Harvest Impact financing provides us the much needed tools and resources to expand. We want to continue to offer an alternative food economy that honours people and the environment above profit,” said Michelle Watson, Director Chair, Eat Local Grey Bruce.

“Harvest Impact invests in companies, organizations and people who are generating social, environmental, or cultural benefits alongside financial returns,” said Julia Grady, 10C Co-Founder and Executive Director. “We are actively encouraging both for profit and non-profit social impact organizations like Eat local Grey Bruce to apply for social financing through Harvest Impact.”

This social finance loan will assist ELGB in contributing to five of the UN’s Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) and is part of demonstrating how a circular economy can design out waste, keep materials in use and regenerate natural systems.
Harvest Impact by 10C is part of Our Food Future and COIL, Guelph and Wellington County’s vision for a circular food system – a system that values, shares and celebrates a diversity of affordable, nutritious and culturally relevant foods that support a healthy, resilient community.

For more information:

Harvest Impact by 10C
Julia Grady, (she/her)
Project Lead

Eat Local Grey Bruce
Callum Batten (they/them)
Outreach Manager

Local Farm Dinner Recap

Local Farm Dinner Recap

We had an amazing time at our Local Farm Dinner at Devonwood Farm. Thank you so much to all of your who attended to support us, Sarah and Lonny for hosting us, the servers who helped and all the Eat Local staff who supported. We could not have made it happen without the ever talented Zach Keeshig from Naagan, Richard from VeganCo and Ryan from The Nomad Chef. Please check out their socials posted below & continue to show your support for them.

Below are some photos from the evening, we will be hosting our Gala in October and hope you can join us. More information to come!






A Tale of Two Buildings: Part 2

A Tale of Two Buildings: Part 2

396 14th St. W in Owen Sound has been our home since the beginning. Historically, it was the home of Vectacor or Hudson Bay Wholesale, depending on who you ask. More recently we shared the building with the Owen Sound Combat Academy, Hands-On Sport Therapy, and The Warehouse Gym. We have grown into the space as we’ve grown, having started with a 1,426sqft space in 2016 and expanded into 3,857sqft by fall of 2020; we are grateful for the support of the last building owner, Keith Miles, to have been able to do so.

We are supportive of Grey County in their upcoming redevelopment of the site as transitional housing and related services – it is much-needed in our region, and we wish them well as they begin to get the building ready for their needs. 

It’s hard to believe that this week marks the last week in operation in our first home – like many first homes, it’s full of memories. While we’ll miss our current space and breaks along the Pottawatomi, we look forward to making our new space a home and lunch hours by Georgian Bay. We are grateful for the special place 396 14th was for ELGB for so many years.

A Tale of Two Buildings: Part 1

A Tale of Two Buildings: Part 1

The SCP Centre has a storied history in Meaford.  Many locals know it as the former site of Amerock, an American company that manufactured hardware onsite until the 1980’s. Our new home is nestled under the old rooftop oven, with aspects of this history still visible. It later became the home of Scott Clay Products, and the Scott family still owns the building to this day (as SCP Properties) – Terry and Maureen started the business, and their children Shannon and Craig have since become involved as well. The section of the building that ELGB will be in was also the home of the Meaford Factory Outlet for many years.

The building is located at 278 Cook St, a hop, skip and a jump away from the shores of Georgian Bay, just off Highway 26. The Scott family has put a lot of care into the building, and it has seen many upgrades in recent years, with the roof to be completed this spring. Details indicate commitment to environmental considerations, most directly observed by the solar panels on the roof, but also via LED lightning and other upgrades relating to energy efficiency. We continue to work closely with the Scott family and the SCP Facility Manager, Trevor Grose (a former Meaford firefighter and the past, long-time owner of Garnet’s Esso). 

We have felt thoroughly welcomed to the building and the community of Meaford and are thoroughly looking forward to finding out what the next few years and a fresh space will bring our mighty little co-op that could.

Choreographing a Move

Choreographing a Move

As anyone who has ever coordinated a renovation or moved house can likely attest to, there are lots of moving parts and many details that need to be addressed for everything to come together. If done well, much like a well-choreographed dance, there can be little visibility of all that has to happen behind the scenes. With this post, I (Jeannine) hope to shine a bit of light on the flurry of activity currently ongoing behind the scenes at Eat Local Grey Bruce.

As referenced in our last post, the first step was finding a new home, then the real work begins. We must:

  • Prepare the new space – identify needs, secure contractors and materials, paint walls, install utilities, and touch base with Public Health to ensure that the space meets requirements
  • Plan logistical needs – sorting out new routing and schedules based on changes in geography, and planning layouts and warehouse processes
  • Address administrative needs – updating insurance, changing contact info and mailing addresses, ironing out leases and our agreement with Grey County to vacate 396 th 14 th St. W, coordinating new services/utilities and ending old ones, and planning updates to the store to reflect logistical changes
  • Manage the obvious task of getting things moved – book movers, work on layouts, get things torn down and built back up.

As we are a co-operative, there always has to be an understanding and balancing of the needs of all invested parties as best we can as we make our way through this process.

Which brings me to the important part, what I’m sure many of you have been looking to hear: “when is moving day?” We hope to only be closed for one week, the week of April 18th , to relocate our primary infrastructure, and to be open again and “business as usual” as of the week of April 25th . Of course, with any project of this size, there is always the “subject to change” fine print based on potential bumps along the way. There’s still a lot of work that must take place before we move in. We officially became tenants on April 1st (keys in-hand April 4th ) beginning our “fixturing period”, and have secured timelines with remaining contractors, allowing us to be more confident in and able to share our plans. We hope that everything will continue to roll out with the efficiency of a finely-tuned machine, and we’ll aim to keep folks updated if anything changes.

What does this relocation mean for our membership?

As mentioned before, we are hopeful that there will not be significant changes to most. A change in geography will mean some updated routing, which we hope to
communicate before too long – we are working through details at current. We are hopeful for some positive changes, including more efficient operations over the long term, and more convenient pick-up point options for those who have asked. We will be asking for some continued patience and understanding from our membership as we continue to work on getting moved and adjusting to a new space!

I often say that ELGB is as much about building relationships as it is about moving food, and this has come through in spades as we work through this relocation process. We’ve relied on relationships with contractors to secure work during these times of overbooked trades (thank you John Matches Heating & Cooling and Benedict Electrical!). We’ve worked on building new relationships with the Scott family, their Facility Manager Trevor Grose and new-to-us local contractors to ensure that work gets done in a smooth and timely manner. We’ve also worked very closely with the folks at Grey County to ensure respective needs were met as this process rolled out. Meg, Emily and I continue to work together to ensure that logistics and admin changes are completed as smoothly as possible. Our Heavy Lifting Committee, under the dedicated guidance of Board Chair David Walton, works at coordinating additional tasks relating to the move itself and final set-up in our new home. As always, thanks all of you in our wider community as well, for your continued support as we continue on working through this notable event.

Ongoing relocation highlights

  • As of the end of March, SCP (our new landlord) completed many of the preparations required for us to take on the space, including electrical upgrades and the installation of partition walls.
  • Work to prepare the floors for refinishing began on Tuesday (April 5th ), with some late plumbing work to also be completed this week.
  • Finishing of the floors will be next week (the week of April 11th ), in advance of the moving of our walk-in cooler and the rest of our infrastructure the week of April 18th .
  • The week of the 18th will see a whirlwind of activity, as contractors hopefully finish up their work in our space and we get everything moved in and organized.

Behind the Scenes of a Relocation

Having secured a new location is only the first step in the relocation process.  We will be continuing operations as a warehouse and pick-up location; however, we continue to dream about the future via our ongoing strategic planning process.

Work continues to prepare the new space for our arrival. Public Health visited the site this week and we got the thumbs-up on our plans. Walls are up and being finished by the SCP Properties crew, and much of the electrical work is underway. Plumbing and floors are also on the list of things to be done, and contractors are being secured. We plan to complete the relocation at the end of April, when we will move primary infrastructure such as our walk-in cooler, freezers and racking. We are hopeful to only be closed for a week, with the goal of being settled in May.

Some of you who are members might be wondering how this move affects you. The short answer is not at all, at least not yet. We are working hard to ensure continuity of the service that people have come to expect. There may be some changes to routing based on the change in geography, however those are not expected until late April/early May and will be communicated in advance. We are also hoping to resume and increase our use of community pick-up points in the coming months. Do you happen to know of a place that would make a great community drop spot?  If so, please reach out!  

As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns, director@eatlocalgreybruce.ca. We look forward to continuing to update via weekly reports on our progress, so keep watch!

Eat Local Grey Bruce Finally Found a New Home

As many of you know, Grey County purchased our building in the fall and we have been looking for a new home. We are pleased to announce that we have located and secured a new location, a unit at 278 Cook Street in Meaford. The building owners, the Scott family, and their staff have been great to work with so far and share our values of community and environmental sustainability.

While Meaford was not where we originally planned to be we are optimistic about the future of our organization in this location. It’s a great space, with potential opportunities for community collaborations and to expand ELGB initiatives in the future.

While we are sad to leave Owen Sound, we are looking forward to becoming a part of the Meaford community and excited about the potential of this location! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your assistance in this search. We heard from many of you and investigated upwards of 25 different locations in our search for a new home, from Wiarton and Saugeen Shores to Dornoch and Meaford and everywhere in between. Our Board of Directors and staff reviewed the available options and filtered them through a comprehensive set of criteria, and outside professional advice was sought in an effort to ensure due diligence. While we are hopeful that costs will be covered by available funding, there may be additional costs that will become evident as planning continues in earnest.

We will keep you updated with ways you can support if you are interested as we enter this new chapter. There are some needed renovations, and expected tasks include finishing work such as bringing the flooring to standard from a Public Health perspective, painting, some carpentry, as well as helping to get us moved from point A to point B. All of these things are managed by our “Heavy Lifting” Committee, and any interested parties can reach out to David Walton, the Chair of our Board of Directors, at tremwalt@gmail.com.

Local Food System Series: Food as Responsibility

One of the biggest and most impactful shifts that supporting local food systems can provide is moving away from consumer cultures that embed themselves in narratives of competition and individual notions of rights towards responsibility. It is almost impossible to govern food chains as “public commons” when notions of ownership and entitlement govern how people choose to spend their money and their time.

By seeing local food system creation as a form of responsibility – we remove both the social and financial burden from individuals – often farmers within our communities – to a collective one. It is only through stepping into our collective responsibility to food, the land, and the earth that we can see sustainable, ecolonical, and ultimately ethical relationalities to each other and food. This is a huge reason why Eat Local Grey Bruce uses a cooperative model to sustain ourselves – and ensure we all share the bounty and responsibilities of local food systems.