Who’s Your Farmer?

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With a mission as hefty as “local food on the plate of every Calgarian,” it’s no surprise that YYC Growers and Distributors have outgrown their current storage space. Since its inception in 2013, YYC Growers has seen an increase from 50 Summer Harvest Box shares to over 500 boxes in the Calgary community. Kye Kocher, President of YYC Growers, gives no hint of slowing down.

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Last year, in step with their desire to provide “365 day, around the clock local food to Calgarians,” YYC Growers and Distributors introduced a Winter Harvest box. Overall “it was received well, the feedback was good. Too many beets,” joked Kocher, who admits that there was some weeks where they felt challenged with the selection. “The reality is, winter means a lot of roots. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be beets or boring,” Kocher explained,  saying for the 2016 season YYC Growers have planned a wider crop selection. By beginning the planning process in March, they’ll be able to provide an even better breadth of local produce to their subscribers – and they plan to increase their output from the initial 50 Winter Harvest boxes in 2015 to 500 this year.

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Faced with this increased demand and the desire to provide increased selection throughout the entire year, YYC Growers have found themselves short on space. Not only is the current space too small to accommodate the sheer volume of produce, they also require a cooler that allows them to keep different sorts of fruit and veg at their optimal temperatures.

To keep financial pressure off of the member farmers, the cooperative is reaching out to the community and their networks to support the move to the new storage space.  Using the crowdfunding website Chuffed, Kocher and YYC Growers hope to raise $25,000 to offset the costs of the expansion while continuing to provide fresh, local food to Calgary families.

There are some great local perks for donating to the YYC Growers and Distributors cause, including discounts are Farmers’ Market vendors and gift certificates from fantastic Calgary restaurants. According to Kocher, it wasn’t difficult to gain the support of these local businesses – they’re all restaurants and businesses that they already partner with. These businesses already have “our farmers selling to them directly,” so they were “happy to help.” You can find the full list of donation perks by visiting the YYC Growers and Distributors crowdfunding page.

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Call to Action

Donate to the crowdfunding campaign! Support the local food movement in Calgary – and remember there are fantastic perks available to claim!

Sign up for a Harvest Box and become a YYC Growers and Distributors subscriber.

Follow YYC Growers and Distributors on Facebook & Twitter – be sure to share out their crowdfunding campaign!

Meet a local farmer – go to a local community farmer’s market, a CSA pickup location, or email a local farm.

Participate in Open Farm Days, a unique opportunity to learn more about food production in Calgary. YYC Growers will be participating, along with over 90 farms and producers from across Alberta.

Grow your own food! While “produce can be seen as a luxury,” Kocher points out that “a way to mitigate that is to grow your own!”

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