The food industry has a significant impact on local economies. Large food corporations and traditional food systems are notorious for siphoning funds and resources away from local economies.
Most often, large corporations will prioritize profits over supporting local farmers and businesses, leading to a loss of revenue for the community.
Their big bargaining power can force local farmers’ prices down (thus reducing the farmer’s income) and by sourcing products from outside the community, they further reduce the economic benefits that would come from supporting local businesses.
This cycle of prioritizing profit over community support can lead to a decline in small businesses and a loss of local jobs.
Well, we’re not having it. It’s our vision is to create a healthy, happy, connected and thriving community through regenerative living. To do this, we must invest in our local economy.
It’s for this very reason that we’ve built YYC Growers as an infrastructure to keep funds and resources in our local economy.
WHAT IS THE CIRCLE ECONOMY?
The idea is to keep money and resources circulating within a community, rather than being extracted and sent elsewhere. This can have a positive impact on the local economy, the environment, and the overall well-being of the community.
One way to keep money in the local economy is to support locally-owned businesses. When consumers choose to shop at local stores instead of large chain stores, more money stays within the community. Local businesses are more likely to source their products and services locally, creating a multiplier effect that boosts the local economy.
Another way to promote a circular economy is to embrace the idea of reduce, reuse, and recycle. Rather than throwing items away, they can be reused or repurposed. In the context of agriculture and food systems, this can be done by reusing packing materials, sharing overstocked produce with charities, or repurposing compostable food waste for animal feed. Sharing resources within a community can reduce waste and save money.
Read more in our blog about Waste Reduction Initiatives.
In addition, the circular economy model encourages businesses to design products that can be easily repaired, refurbished, or recycled. This reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and creates a more sustainable model for resource use.
By keeping money within the local economy and promoting a circular economy, communities can create a more resilient and sustainable future. This approach can lead to more job opportunities, stronger local businesses, and a healthier environment. It also fosters a sense of community and encourages individuals to work together to create a better future for everyone.
SUPPORTING OUR LOCAL ECONOMY
In terms of our expenses and costs, over 90% of every dollar going out of YYC Growers stays in small businesses in the local system or went to local individuals—such as staff salaries, farmer payments, and vendors we work with.
We pay our farmers a fair price for their harvest and then with the other 45 to 35% of your dollar, we pay our staff a living wage, we pay the rent and utilities in our warehouse (which has big walk-in fridges and freezers that allow us to operate within the standards of food handling in our province), we pay for some packaging (boxes for home delivery, compostable produce bags, etc), we pay for our truck that allows up to set up our multiple pick-up locations, plus, administrative costs including insurance, business licensing, and technology fees such as websites and accounting platforms (which are kept as minimal as possible).
And we always try and work with local. Really the only money that leaves the local system is through technology fees. It is quite a beautiful system and its impacts can be huge.
FOR THE FUTURE
It is with these practices and more, that we seek to positively impact our local economy, our communities, our farmers, and you.
A lot of times we talk about sustainability in the sense of “oh no, what are we going to do for the future; for our children and grandchildren?”
The impacts of our model are immediate. By putting our money back into local businesses and people, we create that circle economy. Through COVID, cities, and municipalities strongly pushed the need to support local—and that is something that our organization does very well.
Your YYC Growers Team