This week marks nine years since we started our grocery delivery program at The Organic Box. It's hard to believe that we are embarking on our tenth season this summer. Here is a quick look back at the past nine years and the changes we have seen during that time.
Year 1: Getting Started On May 10, 2010, we did our first set of deliveries. We had a rusty old cargo van and a small warehouse on the south-side. We had 40 stops in our first week and the orders were packed by Miranda, myself, Grandma Mary and Grandma Maryln. We had no paid staff and did everything ourselves. It was so exciting! By the end of 2010, we had six staff and two delivery vans. The growth was very gratifying for The Organic Box.
Year 2: Adding Our farm In the fall of 2011, we had finished two summers of produce and had built a strong enough business that we could take the big plunge and buy our farm in my hometown of Creston, BC. Named Just A Mere Organic Farm, it is a 14-acre fruit orchard located in one of BC's most fertile growing regions. It was in derelict condition after 20 years of neglect and we set upon a project to rehabilitate it and bring our family farm back to life.
Year 3: The Big Move In the Spring of 2012, we had outgrown our small little warehouse on the south-side of Edmonton and needed to make the move into our second location. With bigger coolers and freezer plus an actual loading dock, it was just the perfect size for our growing our delivery operation. We also had our first cherry harvest from our farm in 2012 and we were so excited to bring our own organic BC cherries to the city.
Year 4: Taking Local Food to the Next Level 2013 was our transformative year. We settled into our new warehouse, and we saw our mission of bringing local organic to families in the Capital Region really take off. We were adding lots of new delivery vans and delivery routes and our food family was growing steadily. It was a great time for new partnerships and we expanded our product line to include a range of new grocery items, meats and dairy options.
Year 5: Opening our New Food Hub When our fifth season started, we knew that we needed more space and more infrastructure to serve our community and continue to give organic food producers in Alberta increasing access to processing, storage and distribution services to expand their markets in Northern Alberta. On Thanksgiving Day we moved into our new 17,000 square foot facility in East Edmonton which includes a variety of new food processing, storage and distribution infrastructure. Our mission of enabling our food family to move their businesses forward has truly been realized.
Year 6: Accelerating Growth in Our Markets Our sixth season is our most exciting yet. With lots of new producers in our catalogue and an expanded selection of items and options to choose from, we continue to be the best source for local organic food in Alberta. We've expanded our markets to include four cities in the north and have over 100 farmers and producers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia in our food family.
Year 7: New partnership and Technology means a stronger Food Family. We partnered with Farmbox in the Calgary, and Bow Valley region to make supporting local food producers across Alberta, more accessible. The Farmbox crew and the customers who joined the Food Family have been awesome in helping us to achieve our goals of nurturing a food system that feeds, our communities, families and the planet! We also started to work in-house, on some new technology that would improve accuracy on order packing, picking and routing deliveries that were going to minimize food waste, fuel and increase our service region.
Year 8:Increasing efficiencies with some new locally made tech. We were able to launch two technology innovations that were created by our in-house development team. One of the tech creations we made was an order fulfillment system called Pick2Light that enables us to pack orders faster with increased accuracy. The other is our own routing software that automatically routes our stops on a given route to minimize the amount of driving required to complete a route, subsequently increasing our efficiency and decreasing our fuel use and carbon emissions.
Year 9: Bettering the environment with new totes. We realized that our waxed boxes although everyone (including our team) loved these boxes, they were not as sustainable as other options, so we implemented our new green totes. The new green totes outlast the life span of the waxed boxes, they do not burden an overcrowded recycling infrastructure, and they nest, so they don't take up nearly as much room in your home before your next order!
This year, we hope you take advantage of the network we have built and continue to support our locally-owned, ethically and sustainably-run business. We are a gem in our community and your support is what has made the last nine years so exceptional for us and the entire Food Family.