At CEP Toronto, we strive to bring together sustainability professionals in the Greater Toronto Area. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, small businesses need our help more than ever. That’s why we’re using our blog to connect our community with Canadian small businesses who are doing good for the environment by providing products or services that help us live and work a little greener.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
We are a husband and wife duo that have a produce and pasture meat subscription program, we provide families all over the GTA with produce, meats and other products grown here on our farm. We love what we do, and farming is a 24/7 job 365 days of the year. We are very excited that our children are joining the family business. Our son Trenton & his wife Kelsey have taken on managerial roles within the business so they are really helping to grow our family business.
What is the story behind your business?
After graduating from agricultural college together, Steve & I married & began expanding the already successful family cattle & sweet corn business. It wasn't long before we began growing other crops, and in 1999 we began attending local farmer's markets with our harvest.
In 2006, our combined hard work and enthusiasm led to the creation of “The Uxbridge Maize” followed by an incredibly successful “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) program in 2007 – both of which have been heartily embraced and enjoyed by the community. In 2010, Steve & I were honoured with the prestigious national "Outstanding Young Farmers" award, for our achievements in sustainable farming & our successful business practices.
Today, we have added even more diversity to the family farm. In moving away from raising goats, we have transitioned into being a full CSA Farm food subscription program where we provide our farm’s products right to the consumers’ homes. We have weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly produce boxes and monthly pasture-raised beef, pork and chicken. In the winter of 2017, we added another enterprise … maple syrup! We also have a very successful Fall Fun Festival where we host a 10-acre corn maze, wagon rides, u-pick pumpkins and much more.
Why is being sustainable important to you and to your business?
We combine growing methods; we incorporate modern techniques & science while caring for the land and using what we have to grow our food.
Nature is our co-worker; we have to work with it to make things grow. We are always learning and using methods that make farming easier, safer, more productive, and more affordable.
Sustainable farming is not easy, but it is worth it & important to us. We put back what we take from the land & let our animals be animals.
How is your business adapting to the current COVID-19 reality?
Increase food safety protocols; they have always been there & we take them very seriously. We just found a way to amp it up even more!
Educated ourselves in better sanitization techniques.
Socially-distant home delivery & pick up of shares and items.
Created an online shopping platform for pre-orders and curbside pick up to limit contact for shopping.
How will you continue maintaining OR enhancing sustainability considerations for your business post - COVID-19?
We had been moving away from as much plastic use as much as possible while maintaining food safety protocols before COVID. We have had to use it a bit more but otherwise we have moved to biodegradable packaging and continue to practice the same sustainable methods we have been using before.
What’s your favourite product or service (from your own business) to use? And why?
Our share programs - customers can sign up for vegetables, beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. Different schedules are available, and all year round.
How would you like our followers to reach you, or learn more?
How do you incorporate sustainability practices into your personal life?
There actually isn’t much divide from our personal lives and life on the farm. Almost everything we do on the farm translates into our home. Eating directly from the land; anything organic that can be fed back to the animals will be kept; utilizing local products for as many things as possible; trying not to treat our possessions as throwaway - we fix and reuse as much as possible.
We know that what we put into the world will be there for a very long time, good or bad. We need our farm to be here for future generations to continue our farming legacy, and would never jeopardize that.
Support Coopers Farm CSA by following them on Facebook “Coopers CSA Farm page” and Instagram “@coopscsafarm”, or visit their website to learn more about their sustainable farming practices and their CSA subscription program.
This blog contains information, views, or opinions expressed by a business owner (or employer) and its associated product(s) and/or service(s). While the information has been presented with all due care, CEP Toronto makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information featured in this blog and has edited the interview for length and clarity purposes.
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