Our Burnaby Partner: Urban Digs Farm

Sonia - January 22, 2016

We’re delighted to introduce you to our Community Partner in Burnaby . . .

Urban Digs Farm supplies families and chefs with trustworthy meat, eggs and produce grown at their own farm and by other farmers they know. Their strong social and environmental justice values are present in everything they do and we’re honoured that Urban Digs distributes CSF member shares at their on-the-farm market in south Burnaby!

I first met Julia Smith, Urban Digs’ co-founder, farmer, and butcher at a Slow Money conference in spring of 2014. After pitching about our businesses and chatting to one another, we soon realized we had a lot in common: a shared set of very strongly held values, shared experiences in food systems, and even similarities in our children! Julia began to refer to me as the “the sea version” of herself and she was right! Our businesses faced similar challenges and we soon began meeting monthly for what we affectionately call our “Surf and Turf lunches” to share ideas, resources, and to support one another.

From 2009-2014, our CSF members had the option to pick up their shares at the Fishermen’s Wharf near Granville Island or at a growing number of Farmer’s Markets throughout metro Vancouver. As our membership grew in locations farther and farther from Granville Island, we tried to take on more and more Farmer’s Markets so they would have convenient pick-up locations. And while we love being at Farmer’s Markets, being at so many of them presented a lot of challenges and costs. And we still weren’t able to be everywhere we wanted to be!

So, in September of 2014, we came up with the idea for Community Partnership pick-ups. Under this system, members would place their orders, we would pack them, label them, and drop them off at a partner’s freezer. Then members would come and pick up from the partner over a period of hours or days. This solved a lot of challenges for us! We didn’t need to be everywhere at the same time. We were able to offer more locations with more flexible hours and less costs. And our members would have the opportunity to shop with the Community Partner while picking up. What a win-win-win situation!

Julia and her staff were professional, flexible, well organized, and patient as we came up with the logistics of the partnership. And our first pick-up went great! Members in Burnaby, New West, and even father afield loved the convenience of being able to pick-up closer to home. They loved meeting the farmers, feeding the pigs, and picking up some meat, eggs, and produce while they were there. And they loved attending the festivals and special events at Urban Digs Farm!

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 if Shaun and I didn’t personally hand out each and every piece of fish. But after working with Julia, Ludo, Ryan, and all the amazing staff at Urban Digs, 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 are in Burnaby, drop by and say hello to our friends at Urban Digs Farm!

Check our event calendar for details of all our BC pick-ups!

Sonia - January 22, 2016

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Our Burnaby Partner: Urban Digs Farm

Sonia - January 22, 2016

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