Organic Delivery Services Stay on Trend

As we near the end of 2014, it makes sense to reflect on the past year. I’ve noticed two significant trends emerge. First — and I’d like to think most noteworthy — is the shift towards outsourcing everyday tasks: Uber (driving), Seamless (takeout) and Washio (laundry) offer convenience. We’re busy people, or at least we like to think we are, so paying to have food delivered and dirty clothes cleaned is tempting.  The second trend has been lurking for a while. While eating organic may not be new, the reason to “go organic” has shifted. Overall, we are all more educated or at least aware of GMOs, and plant-based, vegetarian and vegan diets have entered mainstream consciousness. Eating organic is no longer just a trend, it’s plain trendy. So how can one experience both trends at once?

Aaron Purser packing a bin
Getting organized for delivery
Aaron Purser found out two years ago when he opened Green Earth Organic’s Victoria branch. A weekly produce delivery service was a natural fit for Purser. “I live what I do. I’ve always eaten organic. I grew up in the Yukon, eating out of a garden and hunting with my dad,” says Purser, who had originally planned on a career in the nutrition profession. “This opportunity presented itself and I’d been saving up to start my own business in the health and wellness field already, so Green Earth Organics was right up my alley.” With only two employees — Aaron included — Green Earth Organics has developed a loyal customer base. On average, they deliver to 90 of their 135 customers weekly. Each week, customers can view online what fruits and vegetables will be included in their bins (the bins come in three sizes) and have the option to make up to four substitutions.
Assembly Line (Rod McCleod
Recycling
Green Earth Organics has strict guidelines for the fruits and vegetables allowed in their bins. “Nothing we deliver isn’t organic. It does restrict us sometimes as so few certified organic growers are on the island,” says Purser. He works with Eatmore Sprouts in the Comox Valley, Terra Nossa Farm in Mill Bay and hyper-local Saanich Organics. With all the focus on sustainability, waste and transportation are a top priority. “We’re small enough that now I know exactly what to order, our waste is virtually nothing,” says Purser, adding that when food is in danger of going uneaten, it’s donated to Living Edge. Green Earth Organics is also working to develop school delivery services, where parents could pickup their weekly box and their children at the same time. Kudos! SPUD Delivery is another sustainability-focused service available in Victoria. Like Green Earth Organics, SPUD is aware of its environmental footprint. “The average North American goes to the grocery store twice a week and each shop is an hour and a half, including 45 minutes round trip to drive there. Our trucks deliver to about 45 customers each. So if you think about it, you have 45 cars going back and forth on the road. One truck is using far less gas than all those cars going back and forth,” says Peter van Stolk, SPUD CEO. “These programs are so popular in Europe because gas is so expensive, and we’re heading in the same direction. As the price of gas goes up, people in developed countries are realizing that online delivery is of incredible value to their lives, because they can’t afford to spend the gas to drive to the grocery store, let alone the time.” On average, SPUD makes 400 deliveries a week in Victoria, while also housing operations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Much like Green Earth Organics, SPUD makes an effort to sell certified organic produce, although items grown on Vancouver Island don’t require certification to make it into SPUD bins. Instead, Island produce can’t be grown with the use of pesticides, herbicides, and sprays, and only come from non-GMO seeds.

A weekly bin van Stolk sees home delivery as a way for Canadians to positively change the way they purchase and think about food. “We’ve gotten used to eating certain products, strawberries for instance, in all four seasons, and that’s really not sustainable. Individuals have to decide if they want to eat like their grandparents ate, which was according to seasons, or if they want to eat like their parents did, which was getting anything you wanted any time, but paying the price later.” SPUD notices a downturn in delivers during the summer months, spurned by Victoria’s strong market culture. Purser agrees, but also knows it’s difficult for customers to let go of their all-season eating habits. “For example, we have a standing order with a fair trade farm in Peru for bananas.”
For those not in Victoria, Green Earth Organics and SPUD both have operations across BC and Alberta. Who knows, by this time next year we may never have to leave the house again.

Written By:

Kaitlyn Rosenburg holds a BFA in creative writing with a minor in journalism and publishing from the University of Victoria. Her work has appeared in local publications such as The Martlet, as well as national publications like ...

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