Doing well by doing good, Homegrown Land Bank Group is an incredible example of a local social enterprise that has a big impact. Homegrown brings together farmers from the local community in an online farmer’s market to help them reach markets they might not have access to otherwise. The online farmer’s market connects consumers to their favourite local producers with a convenient food basket that can be picked up at multiple locations in Southwestern Ontario.

How does it work? Local producers list their products on Homegrown’s website, people choose from the options and place their order. Then, Homegrown arranges the customized orders into food baskets that can be picked up at the set location. You could buy spinach from one farmer, syrup from another producer, and eggs from a third vendor. Brilliant. But it gets even better. Profits from the online food baskets are reinvested into purchasing land banks in Nicaragua to support local farmers by providing rent-to-own farm land. Talk about big impact.

 

Founders David Scherpenzeel of Fordwich, Ontario and Jef MacPherson born and raised in Nova Scotia, met by chance while attending the Young Adult Food Study Tour. It turns out they had a lot in common and got to work on their land bank vision. Jef and David say their mission is to “improve the lives of those in the communities by creating a food system that uses a local model to support a global system.” Their slogan “rooting every farmer in fertile soil” speaks to their passion for sustainable farming practices.

Homegrown’s local food baskets will supply everything from Milestone’s maple syrup to pies from Anna Mae’s. They offer local produce, beef and chicken, pork and honey from Perth Pork Products, and Infusion coffee. Online vendors will each have a profile to tell their individual stories, keeping the community connected to our local farmers.

The first pick-up location just launched in Listowel at Theatre 311, and will expand to include Goderich, Exeter, Wingham and Sarnia. To find out more, or to be listed on Homegrown’s website, please contact homegrownfoodbasket@gmail.com.