It was five years ago this month that Miranda and I started The Organic Box.  Based on a firm belief that families like ours wanted to buy their food from other families like ours, we started our journey of discovery in Edmonton and invited everyone in our city to join us.  At first, we were a produce delivery company.  Then we added our family farm.  After that, something special happened.  The city embraced what we were doing and flocked to join us.  Our food family swelled with new members, new staff, and lots of new producers.  We started to explore our food system beyond just produce and this month have finally finished that journey and now offer local and organic products in every major grocery category. Along the way, we have become so much more than just a food delivery service, and I am often surprised to learn that many people in our food family don't know about all the things we do to support and grow our alternative food system.  This week I thought I would highlight a few. <strong>1.  Commitment to Organics</strong> First and foremost, we are committed to organic food production.  Miranda and I have seen first hand the damage than can be inflicted to agriculture workers by the chemicals used on the farm.  We firmly believe in the lifecycle of the soil and sustainable farming practices.  Farming that uses toxic chemicals to manipulate the soil, the crop and the ecosystem of the farm, or food processing that uses toxic chemicals to alter whole foods into highly processed foods are not consistent with our values and destroy the health of the environment, the workers and the consumers of the food.  Our values also reject the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) that now make up 80% of the food we eat.  We are committed to organic food production and the benefit it brings to the people it serves. <strong>2.  Investing in the Industry</strong> Local food is not just a catch phrase for us.  We are fierce advocates of local food production in our community.  We invest in the industry every day by providing secure markets for local growers and producers to sell into, by spending our own money on improving the distribution network that moves local food around our communities, and by volunteering our time on various boards and committees that work to advance the agenda of the local organic industry in Western Canada.  At The Organic Box, we do things that make our industry bigger and expand access to our industry's special food for everyone, not just for ourselves. <strong>3.  Giving to Our Community</strong> Through our 'Growing Better Together' Fund, we give money, time, and food back to the communities that we serve.  In 2014, this meant tens of thousands of dollars invested in our regional food banks, in school food programs and education, in hampers for families in need, in contributions to silent auctions and galas to raise money for community programs, plus dozens of other initiatives.  This week, we will be announcing our new juicing program in partnership with Glow Juicery, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Stollery Children's Hospital, to deliver a program of fresh nutrient-filled juices to cancer children to supplement their feeding programs.  I have seen the results of this program first-hand and it is amazing. <strong>4.  Value-Added Processing</strong> The growing season in Western Canada is short.  For a viable food system to be successful we need to improve the value-added processing done right here in our own communities and extend our season.  There was a time when every family did their own value-added processing - you may know it as preserving and canning food in the fall.  We are strongly committed to increasing the availability of value-added organic food produced locally in our community.  Have you tried our frozen strawberries or raspberries?  Perhaps some of our cold pressed apple juice?  This week we launch the new Mojo Jojo Organic Pickles - produced right here in Edmonton using locally-grown beets and carrots that have been stored since last fall.  In 2014 we invested over $600,000 in processing infrastructure in Edmonton, and in 2015 we will be investing another $400,000. <strong>5.  Shared Infrastructure</strong> On Thanksgiving Day in 2014 we moved into our new 17,500 square-foot food hub in south Edmonton.  This facility is the realization of a dream we have been chasing for several years, and took over a year to plan.  We have thousands of square feet of cooler, freezer and dry food storage space, plus dedicated loading, logistics and processing space, and our food hub is emerging as one of the most successful and highly utilized in North America.  With hundreds of food producers sending their products through our facility every week and our program to expand our reach to all the major communities in Northern Alberta, we are offering our community access to something very special that makes it simple for small food producers to access a multi-million dollar market year-round. <strong>Thank You</strong> When you purchase products from The Organic Box, whether one of our standard produce boxes, or several hundred dollars of organic groceries, your money is going directly into these programs and helping us to continue our journey towards sustainable food for Northern Alberta.  Miranda and I thank you for your commitment to us, and if you haven't already tried our service, we hope you will choose your local food system and join our food family today. All the best, Danny Co-Founder and Owner.