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Latest News from BeetBox Co-op Farm

by | Mar 13, 2020

What are we up to?

We don’t want to beat around the bush: At the bottom of this message we’ll be asking you to help spread the word about an opportunity for farmers to join BeetBox Co-op. But first, let’s get you caught up, shall we?

When we formed the co-op in 2017, our vision was to contribute to positive changes to the food system while developing a healthy work environment for our members and a sustainable work-life balance. By October 2019, we were growing seasonal organic produce for over 150 local families.

After almost 3 years, one thing is certain: we’re inspired by, and thankful for all the support our community gives us.

And yet, it’s been tough to reach this point. We’ve been working flat out trying to achieve our vision, and we’re not there yet. It’s become abundantly clear that we face challenging circumstances that are not entirely uncommon to new farmers; namely a lack of human capacity to grow the business fast enough to cover high overhead costs due to the sheer size of the farm.

After the last few months of thinking and discussion, 2020 is shaping up to be a big transition year for BeetBox and our farmers.

Here’s what’s up:

Suspension of the VegBox CSA

It’s a bummer, but we won’t be offering vegetable baskets this coming season. This suspension of the CSA is allowing us to focus our efforts on the transition that’s underway.

Products on Offer this Season

We are still growing high quality crops so you can support your local food habits! Buy BeetBox-grown organic vegetable seedlings for your garden this spring. This summer, buy delicious garlic scapes and garlic bulbs for eating or for planting this fall. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.

Stellar Volunteer Support

For this year, we’ve teamed up with five other individuals – a mix of farm residents and community investors – to form “The 2020 Farm Crew”. Together, we are volunteering to sustain and diversify BeetBox’s 2020 operations. While this crew is focused on short-term viability, it’s the reason we can offer you products this year, and even try some new things like the seedling sale! We are so grateful for this partnership which was formed to support a smooth transition through the following situation:

David and Lise-Anne are Leaving BeetBox in the Fall

After five years of farming full-time, David is ready for new challenges that offer more financial security. You’ll find David growing organic vegetables part-time with his partner, Kate, at Heartbeet Farm. David and Kate are looking to settle west of Ottawa. Ping David at david@beetbox.ca if you hear of any small farms for sale.

Lise-Anne is also going to be moving on later this year. She will continue to develop farm research at BeetBox in 2020 by testing varieties of lettuce and continuing the development of a new potato variety. Having more time outside of BeetBox will allow her to continue pursuing community development and food sovereignty in other ways through her employment with Inter Pares, a feminist international solidarity organization based in Ottawa. Keep it up L-A!

So What’s Next for BeetBox!?

This farm isn’t going anywhere, and with some effort and some luck, BeetBox could stay here too!

We Need More Farmers to Join Jeremy at BeetBox

Jeremy is keen to evolve BeetBox on-site, to keep working towards sustainability. This evolution will involve reworking the farm business plan. But first, the Co-op needs to find new farmers to work with Jeremy.

What if No New Farmers Join?

If we don’t find new farmers by spring 2020, or don’t adequately evolve the business plan, BeetBox will probably have to leave 230 Davidson’s Side Rd. this fall. Worst case scenario, the Co-op will be dissolved if no new partners are found at all.

It’s a race against time!

How Can You Help?

If you or someone you know would like more information about this partnership opportunity, please read or share this Farm Link listing ASAP. Jeremy can also be reached directly at jeremy@beetbox.ca.