Back to Stories

Mindful Purchasing at FortWhyte Farms

Posted on January 31, 2023

At FortWhyte Farms, we grow and preserve as much produce and product as possible on our own little farm.

There are many benefits to producing as much as we can.

It allows the youth working at the farm to learn new things, it helps us save money, allowing us to invest the savings in our community programs, and it reduces our impact on the environment.

Tray of plated cinnamon buns accompanied by chocolate covered strawberries.

We do everything we can to grow and make what we need but sometimes there are things we can’t produce for our many market products. Things like grains (flours and oats) or sweets (chocolate and sugar) which means we need to purchase these things.

Wherever possible, we like to buy local.

We have amazing, long standing relationships with some small-scale local farmers, like the DeRuycks at Top of the Hill Farm, who we buy all our grains, flours, and flakes from. Buying local, and supporting our local farmers, helps us to build a more sustainable local food system, it helps our local economy, and it helps build connections between producers and consumers. It also reduces “food miles”, the distance food travels from where it’s produced to where it’s sold.

Tray of chocolate cookie dough balls with hands reaching to place more balls down.

When we are unable to buy local, like in the case of sugars and chocolates, it’s important to us to be able to buy ethically produced fair-trade products that support small-scale farmers. Buying ethical, fair-trade certified products ensures not only that farmers are paid fairly, but that labourers are also treated fairly and humanely.

At FortWhyte, we purchase our cocoa and sugars from Camino, where they guarantee minimum prices above world market prices. This helps farmers not only improve their own living conditions, but also those of their community, including better infrastructure, better support services, better long-term planning (by being paid in advance), as well as supporting farmer-owned-co-operatives.

Supporting local farmers and producers is something that runs through every part of FortWhyte Farms.

It supports our local economy, agriculture, communities, infrastructure, and so much more. It isn’t always easy, accessible, or affordable for all of us to do this, so it’s important for those of us who can, especially organisations who can, to do so. By putting our money into local growers, we can help them become more accessible to all; by being more available in local stores and markets, and by being able to lower their prices, knowing they have stable purchasers.