Our Edmonton Community Partner: The Organic Box

Sonia - January 20, 2016

We’re delighted to introduce you to our Community Partner in Edmonton and northern Alberta . . .

The Organic Box delivers organic, local, sustainable, transparently sourced, fair food directly to your door or for pick-up at their conveniently located facility. We are honoured that The Organic Box helps distribute CSF member shares in Edmonton and to communities throughout northern Alberta!

Skipper Otto’s CSF didn’t always deliver sustainable seafood to Edmonton this way. From 2011-2014, my husband and fisherman, Shaun, would fish all summer, rent a freezer truck and drive across the Rockies to deliver CSF shares to our members in Edmonton and other western cities, hoping to make it there and back before the snow hit too hard. He would set up shop in a community parking lot and members would line up to get their fish. Members had to decide what they wanted on the spot, Shaun would weigh it all out and write it down, and members would head home with their seafood.

We really loved meeting everyone and there was something charming about the whole experience, but it also came with its challenges: it was hard on our family personally, and it came with a lot of additional costs, uncertainty, and headaches. We needed a better system.

In early 2015, I began to look for values-aligned partners in all our member locations. I felt certain that if we could just find the right people who shared our vision and our beliefs, we could hit upon a more flexible, more affordable distribution system that would make everyone happy. I asked members in Edmonton for their suggestions and soon found myself with an introduction to Danny Turner, Founder and CEO of the Organic Box. I flew out to Edmonton to meet Danny and his Operations Manager, Abbie Stein-MacLean and we immediately connected around our shared vision for connecting food producers with conscientious consumers. We had a great visit and brainstormed how our partnership could work, and Abbie toured me around the incredible facility at The Organic Box. Abbie shared all her wisdom about software and scales and efficient, ergonomic packing lines. My head spun with all the new things I learned from her! I went home from Edmonton excited and energized and ready to move ahead with our new distribution partner!

In April of 2015, we sent our first shipment of member orders out to The Organic Box. Abbie, Hannah, Brody, and the whole team took on the logistics of receiving member orders, organizing them into their large walk-in freezer, and handing them out to members. So many of our members wrote to tell us how delighted they were with the customer service, the convenience of picking up anytime during store hours, and the option of home delivery. Our members felt immediately welcomed into a broader food community. We were thrilled!

And I was even more thrilled when September came around and we avoided the annual scramble to rent a truck and coordinate the epic “prairie trip” as we’d come to call it. Shaun was even able to continue fishing when the salmon unexpectedly kept returning well into fall. Our kids had their dad around between fishing openings and our members didn’t have to line up for hours in the cold to pick up their fish. What a win-win this was proving to be!

Chris, our Director of Operations, and I flew out to Edmonton again in October to see a member pick-up in person and was so happy to see how simply and efficiently it all worked. We met with Abbie and Brody and chatted about the year, laughed about funny stories, and dreamed up new and amazing things we would do in the coming year.  And I realized something important. When we moved to our Community Partner model for distribution, my biggest concern was that we would lose a small piece of the community feel we had built. But after a season of working with all the staff at The Organic Box, after seeing it in person that fall, and after hearing great feedback from our members, I realized that the “Community” in our Community Supported Fishery was bigger and stronger than ever. In expanding our distribution to include partners with a shared vision for a more just, local food system, we have done more than we could by trying to do everything ourselves. It really is true that “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be!”

If you’re in Edmonton, drop by and say hello to our friends at The Organic Box and consider joining their program to get even more sustainable, natural, fair-trade food delivered directly to your door! Check our event calendar to find out when we’ll be delivering to Edmonton next!

Sonia - January 20, 2016

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Our Edmonton Community Partner: The Organic Box

Sonia - January 20, 2016

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