<h2>A New Year, A New Challenge</h2> <p>As I write this on a Saturday morning, my crew at our warehouse in Edmonton is scrambling because another closure on the Coquihalla-TransCanada Highway from Vancouver has stranded our truck on the western side and we will not be receiving some of our food in time for Saturday orders. &#160;Food Security in Edmonton is a real concern. &#160;Read about my thoughts on this issue on my posting from <a title=&quot;Food Security in the 21st Century&quot; href=&quot;/this-week-at-the-The-Organic-Box-archive-item.aspx?id=1614&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>last week</a>. &#160;Over the past 5 years the incidence of highway closure due to heavy snow has increased, and continues to increase each year.</p> <h2>How We Are Sustainable</h2> <p><img style=&quot;padding: 10px;&quot; title=&quot;2013_Danny_Corn&quot; alt=&quot;2013_Danny_Corn&quot; align=&quot;left&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/A0006874ab3.jpg&quot; />When Miranda and I first started The Organic Box, we made a conscious decision that from the first day we would be carbon-neutral and environmentally sustainable across our entire supply chain, from production to kitchen. Our values as an organic food company, and as organic farmers, align very closely with this and we are absolutely committed to building a business and a food production system that has no negative impact on the ecosystem.</p> <p>As a practice, organic food production is designed to be a closed lifecycle system. Soil is improved and fertilized using compost and organic fertilizers produced on the farm, pest control is implemented using preventative biodynamic practices and, in the best examples, packaging and shipping have a net-zero impact on the environment.</p> <p><strong>Carbon Footprint</strong></p> <p>We have a very detailed environmental management plan that includes tracking our entire environment impact from farm to delivery and we work with various green energy, carbon offsets, and reduction advisers to manage our footprint and reduce our impact. We even track the environmental impact of employee commuting to work to ensure we are giving options to reduce single car trips for our staff by carpooling and new transit pass subsidies. You can read the results of our <a title=&quot;We are Carbon Neutral&quot; href=&quot;/innerContent.aspx?id=557&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>2011 audit</a> on our website, and the 2012 and 2013 carbon audits are in progress now. As our business has grown, the task of tracking and capturing our carbon emissions has become increasingly complex and we have needed to develop new ways of tracking our footprint.</p> <p><strong>Packaging</strong></p> <p>In reality, at The Organic Box, the environmental footprint of our packaging continues to be one of my primary concerns. Choices in product packaging is a balance between trying to keep the quality of our products up and minimizing disposable containers. Plastic bags and clamshells are the industry standard way to ensure correct portioning, reduce dehydration and wilting of fresh greens, and manage overall satisfaction. And it really does matter. There is a significant and measurable difference in the level of complaints that we receive when we do not bag heads of lettuce. Our distinctive boxes have been designed to be reused several times before being properly disposed.</p> <p>Packaging is still a major concern for us and we have a project slated for 2014 that will see the majority of our petroleum-based plastic packaging switched to bio-degradable plant-based products.</p> <p><strong>Waste Management</strong></p> <p>Our warehouse has sophisticated waste management practices and we pride ourselves on having minimal non-compostable and non-recycled waste leaving our facility. We properly dispose of all waste and always encourage our members to return their packaging in their empty box for proper disposal at our warehouse. Items that can&apos;t be recycled or reused are sent via a waste reclamation service to the <a title=&quot;Edmonton Waste Management Centre&quot; href=&quot;http://www.edmonton.ca/for_residents/garbage_recycling/edmonton-composting-facility.aspx&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>Edmonton Waste Management Centre</a> for incineration or composting, depending on the compounds.</p> <p><strong>Energy Use</strong></p> <p>Our fuel, electricity, and natural gas use is carefully measured across our company and we partner with <a title=&quot;Bullfrog Power&quot; href=&quot;https://www.bullfrogpower.com/business/business.cfm&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>Bullfrog Power</a> in Calgary to provide us with electricity from renewable wind sources and natural gas from a renewable methane plant in the Maritimes. Gasoline and Diesel use is tracked and included in our carbon footprint calculations. In 2011 we experimented with a bio-diesel alternative for our delivery fleet but ultimately that proved unsuccessful. I am optimistic based on research underway at the University of Alberta that a viable commercial fuel produced from organic wastes is on the horizon and will be available for another trial soon.</p> <p><strong>Offsetting</strong></p> <p><img title=&quot;climatesmart2012&quot; alt=&quot;climatesmart2012&quot; align=&quot;right&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/005_-_We_Are_Local/csb(1).jpg&quot; />Ultimately, we do produce more carbon emissions than we are able to capture in our own company. This means we must look to offset those emissions by looking for projects both inside our own food family and outside that have a real and measured carbon capture impact. In 2013 we planted over 400 trees on our own farm as part of our reduction strategy. These trees are conifers that are not food producing, have a life of over 100 years and will also provide an excellent wind and overspray barrier along the boundaries of our farm. In addition, we have used the measurements of our carbon footprint in our business to purchase offset credits from leaders in this field such as <a title=&quot;Less Emissions&quot; href=&quot;http://www.less.ca/&quot; target=&quot;_blank&quot;>Less Emissions</a> in Vancouver. In March we will be making another significant investment in reduction technologies and offset credits in preparation for our next carbon measurement cycle.</p> <p><strong>Reporting to our Members and the Community</strong></p> <p>We are in the process of finishing up our environmental impact study for 2013 and will be making those results available to our members within the next month. I love to talk about sustainability both in farming and food production practices in the industry and in the context of our own business and I encourage anyone who is interested in engagement with me on these issues to please get in touch by emailing our office.</p> <p>At The Organic Box we are always growing, always looking for ways to get better, and always trying to find ways to fill more of your shopping basket with Alberta and BC food producers.&#160; We can do it!&#160; You are helping!</p> <p>Have&#160;a Great Week!</p> <p>Danny.<br />Founder, The Organic Box.</p> <h2>Featured&#160;Products and Producers:</h2> <table cellspacing=&quot;15&quot; cellpadding=&quot;0&quot; bgcolor=&quot;#edf0e9&quot;> <tbody> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;bulkgood01&quot; alt=&quot;bulkgood01&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/bulkgoods(2).jpg&quot; /></td> <td><h2>New Bulk Stuff</h2> <p>Did you know that we have a lot of bulk dry goods that we repackage for you? We are like the organic Bulk Barn! It&apos;s a great way to decrease the amount of packaging used, and keep costs low on what can be pricey items. We also have bunch of new items that have just come in! So try some: <br /><br />Dried Papaya <br />Dried Goji Berries <br />Semolina Couscous <br />Corn Meal <br />Mixed Brown and Wild Rice <br />or Chocolate Trail Mix&#160;</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;ponepromo&quot; alt=&quot;ponepromo&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/peasonearth.jpg&quot; /></td> <td><h2>&#160;Peas on Earth</h2> <p><strong>Eric and Ruby Chen</strong> are the bread and butter of organic farming here in Central Alberta. They have been long time partners of The Organic Box, and we absolutely love everything that they do. In particular&#8230; <strong>their carrots!</strong> Root vegetables are great storage crops that let us eat locally grown food well into the winter. Peas on Earth have become masters of root storage, with one amazing side effect&#8230; as carrots (and parsnips, and beets) age in the cellar, their starches are slowly converted into sugars. And what does this mean? The sweetest carrots you&apos;ve ever had are at your finger tips right now! Oh and those parsnips&#8230; even sweeter. </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign=&quot;top&quot; align=&quot;center&quot;><img title=&quot;specialtycitrus&quot; alt=&quot;specialtycitrus&quot; src=&quot;/uploadedImages/009_-_This_Week/specialtycitrus.jpg&quot; /></td> <td><h2>&#160;Specialty Citrus</h2> <p>We have been very lucky to have an increased access to many amazing varieties of citrus this winter. From the Buddhas Hand lemons, the Red Pomelos, the Palestine Limes, and now <strong>Mandarinquats</strong> and <strong>Limequats!</strong> This is all because of the amazing farmers at Deer Creek Heights Ranch in California. They are venturing into new territories with organic citrus and have yielded some amazing results. So try the kumquat crosses this week&#8230; they are perfect for garnishing salads, juicing for marinades, or cooking into your own homemade sauce/salad dressing. </p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>