Thank you for taking a step towards building a more sustainable local food network. Fair warning though, this isn’t going to be easy.

There are many reason why the big boxes have an ever tightening stranglehold on the food market. Loosening that grip is not going to be easy.

In the spirit of the transparency that is at the heart of Local & Fresh let me be blunt about what a commitment to eating more local food means.

First up – it will take time to build the number of producers and the variety of products available in the Local & Fresh store. The average grocery store has over 45,000 items to chose from. We will have a few hundred on day one.

The good news is that there are more and more local producers looking markets for their goods. The bad news is that there are many regulatory and licensing hurdles to overcome before you can buy their food. We will be working tirelessly to overcome those hurdles – you can help by supporting those producers that get through the red tape.

Second, some things don’t grow here or they only grow here for a short time. That said, local strawberries in January may not be as far-fetched as you think. Again, innovative Saskatchewan producers are working on year-round growing as we speak. We will do our bit to help them by offering their product in our store. You can do your bit by choosing the local option when it is available. January strawberries may not be as pretty or cheap as the ones sprayed with ethyl bromide and flown from Chile but if you support the local market, I can assure you the quality will rise and the price will drop.

Third, yes, local food does cost more. For now. We all have a budget to work with and we hope that the range of stock boxes available will work for everyone; but there is no denying that grass fed beef from a single cow raised on a local pasture cost more than the a pound of beef made with parts from a thousand cows finished in a feedlot. Here’s the bottom line: it’s better for your family, it tastes better and it supports your local community. You get what you pay for.

Finally, a note about Local & Fresh. We are learning too. The partners and employees have decades of experience in agriculture and business – but that means we are experienced enough to know that there will be a learning curve as we start up and work through all of the unknowns and challenges of a new business with new processes.

Again, you can help with feedback, suggestions and honesty about how we are doing. A true friend tells you when you have spinach in your teeth. We welcome the feedback.

Whether you are choosing local food for better health, a better environment or simply for the convenience, we have a common interest in building a better local food network. The early adopters of Local & Fresh will have an opportunity to shape the future of the company and local food in Saskatchewan. Your support in the early days will not be forgotten.

Thank you, and welcome to Local & Fresh.