We are a Food Family at The Organic Box, and as such, we always approach every decision with a hierarchy of values that we carry close to our heart. We are a prominent voice and a leading force in supporting local & organic producers in our daily lives, and as such, every decision that we make is guided by a particular set of 7 values and questions that aim to support a sustainable food system.
Local to us first and foremost means geographically local, secondly would be a local economic impact on the area from which we are getting our goods from. Geographically this means that we are buying from producers that we consider a neighbour; Economic means that there is a positive economic impact on the community in which that producer is located. We try to know our producer family by First Name to further aid in creating a tight-knit relationship. It can be hard at times to fulfill the needs of our Food Family when only take into account the use of the term 'Local', so we have additional values.
We always strive to support organic producers with the same amount of emphasis as supporting local. Being Certified Organic does take a lot of work and time and is regulated by the government. The items that are certified organic have to adhere to a stringent set of regulations, be synthetic chemical-, antibiotic- and synthetic hormone-free and not be genetically modified. We always seek out organic items as it is a close #1 priority for us, however, there are certain products and times of the year that we just cannot find options in AB & BC so, we look outside of Canada for certified organic options when necessary. Any produce that comes from outside of AB & BC is certified organic.
If the product is made within in Canada and is not certified organic but is Natural/GMO-Free and no local alternatives exist we will carry that product.
We carry many products that are not organic, but they are supporting local bakers, snack, drink, dairy and meat producers which fall in line with our mission to support local food producers where we can. We still vet them to ensure that their practices are sustainable, environmentally friendly, ethical and safe for employees.
If a product is certified Fair Trade this means that we are committing to paying all producers a fair price for goods regardless of the state of the country whether it be developing or those who are industrialized. This ensures that the growers are able to earn living wages and have the opportunity to thrive in locations where they are often exploited. A cooperative would be an organization, farm or business where all the members are owners and are jointly run by those individuals who share the profits or benefits.
Is the product coming from a company who shares these same values as we do? Do they support minimizing food waste? Do they value green initiatives? Are they involved in their local community? Do they value natural practices and ethical farming/harvesting/creating methods? Is their workforce treated fairly? These are all considerations we weigh heavily when choosing products to carry.
It's not uncommon for The Organic Box to carry products that aren't organic or made by local producers. We carry these products that may not meet the prior mentioned values because you, our Food Family wants the product. Every month more and more Natural and GMO-Free options become available. We want to improve access to Natural and GMO-Free products for all of our members (and save you a trip) in hopes of changing the food system at large towards more sustainable practices.