As we count down the last few days of 2015, we take a few minutes to reflect on the year. We accomplished many&#160;wonderful things and we&#160;wanted to share a few of the highlights with you. <h3><strong>Major 2015 Achievements</strong></h3> <strong>1. A full year in our new production facility.</strong> On Thanksgiving Day in 2014 we moved into our current 17,000 square foot production facility in the east end of Edmonton. It was a million-dollar investment for us, representing two years of planning and giving us over 4,000 square feet of cooler space, 800 square feet of freezer space and lots of loading and order preparation areas. It was a major step up in our operations but it was needed to help us continue to maintain our role as the Local Organic Food Hub for Northern Alberta. <strong>2. Opening in four great Northern Alberta communities.</strong> In the winter and spring of 2015 we started services in Peace River, Fort McMurray, Hinton, and Grande Prairie. We are very grateful for the support we've received in these communities and look forward to expanding further in 2016 as the opportunities arise. <strong>3. Adding over 1,000 new products to our catalogue, including over 100 from right here in Greater Edmonton. </strong> Having increased storage and processing space has allowed us to expand our catalogue and develop lots of great new products for our members. This includes some great protein offerings from Skipper Otto and Serben Organic Farm, plus other great speciality products like fudge, pickles, baked goods, snacks and cleaning products made right here in our own community using sustainable and organic ingredients. <strong>4. Offering expanded services to our producer community.</strong> Our food hub offers a variety of services to the growers and producers in our food family, including everything from refrigerated trucking services, short and long term storage, and local delivery services, to marketing support, advanced processing, washing and bagging of product, and compliance support with Alberta Health Services and the Canada Food Inspection Agency. Our growing network of producers has come to rely on us as a source of information, marketing support and food handling that shares the infrastructure we have built and allows them to&#160;grow&#160;their businesses. <strong>5. Launching our partnership with Gordon Food Services.</strong> GFS is now our primary food service distributor and we are so grateful for the relationship. This means that any restaurant or other food service establishment in Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan or the North West Territories now has access to all the same special food as our members in Edmonton and area. <em>(plus one extra achievement below!)</em> <strong>6. Weathering the storm of sagging energy prices and a provincial recession.</strong> We'll be honest - the recession has hit our food family pretty hard. Many of our growers and producers report lower sales at the farmers' markets, and we have seen an impact on our home delivery and commercial businesses. However, we are committed to our Food Family for the long haul and we continue to drive improvements and efficiencies into our program to stay competitive and weather the storm alongside our neighbours and community. <h3><strong>Terrific News for 2016!</strong></h3> In 2016 we have a variety of wonderful new projects under way that are going to make things even better for our food family. <strong>1. New order fulfilment, on-line ordering and website technology.</strong> We know our technology could always be better and we are making a significant investment in a complete redesign of our ordering interface and the supporting fulfilment technologies that is going to make it easier than ever to find, learn about, and get&#160;the products you want faster than ever before. Order close deadlines will be closer to delivery days, searching for products and producers will be easier, and a new automated picking system will make our accuracy the best in the industry. <strong>2. A wealth of new product development.</strong> At The Organic Box, we believe very strongly in partnering with our producers to develop the products that our members want and our community needs right here in our own local economy. Instead of just choosing from a wholesaler catalogue to add new products, we find the businesses in Edmonton that are doing what we want and partner with them. In 2016, look for fantastic new products such as local perogies, pastries, juices and drinks, and a variety of frozen ready-to-eat meals. <strong>3. A new partnership with Edmonton's Best Chefs.</strong> We already have the best ingredients in town, and now we have the best recipes too. In 2016, we will be rolling out our new line of ready-to-eat meals, made from the whole assortment&#160;of organic ingredients at our disposal. These meals have been designed especially for us by some of the city's top chefs and we can't wait to show them to you. Feed your family fast and easy, with real food prepared by real people in your community. And our promise is to provide it all without breaking the bank. <strong>4. A new Value catalogue.</strong> We know that many of our food family members are making tough choices about what food they can afford for their families. In January we will be introducing a new sub catalogue of items carefully selected and value-priced to offer the best deals to our families. Price&#160;should never be a barrier to good, local organic food and we want to help everyone get access to the special food we sell. <strong>5. Renewal of our "Beyond The Box" giving program.</strong> 2015 saw a rapid expansion of our giving program - we donated over $50,000 in cash and food this year. Our partnerships with the Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), the Juice with Love Program (Ronald McDonald House and Stollery Children's Hospital), and our annual Holiday Mission benefiting the YESS, the Christmas Bureau and the Regional Food Banks will all be renewed and expanded. Finding ways to support the people in our community who are the most food-insecure is part of our core values and we will continue unabated to pursue these opportunities. <h3><strong>In Summary</strong></h3> 2015 has been an exciting and challenging year for our team at The Organic Box. Our food family has stood behind us while we have continued to pursue our mission and we are so grateful for everyone's support. Being a member of The Organic Box is about so much more than just having food delivered in our signature boxes. Its about being part of a local food movement that is unique to Western Canada in so many ways. Those of you who are continuing with us in 2016 have our profound gratitude, and for those that are thinking about jumping on board or coming back into the fold, there has never been a better time to join our family. Thank you and Happy New Year! All the best, Danny and Miranda Co-Founders and Owners The Organic Box Just A Mere Organic Farm