Articles:

Flower farming busy business for Annapolis Valley couple

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Sarah and Kenny Macalpine are shown at Two Birds One Stone Farm in Halls Harbour. - Contributed

Paul Pickrem (paulpickrem@gmail.com)

Published: Jul 30 at 9:10 a.m.

Updated: Jul 31 at 7:36 a.m.

(Link to Article)

‘Connect with people through flowers’

Things are getting colourful on a farm in Halls Harbour.

Sarah and Kenny Macalpine are beginning to harvest fresh cut flowers on Two Birds One Stone Farm, now in its second year. The couple left careers in the fashion and steel industries in southern Ontario to take to the land in Nova Scotia.

“We worked a lot of opposite shifts and were exhausted, and we came to feel we are not living our purpose. It was like something was missing,” Sarah Macalpine said in a recent interview.

“One morning, we literally woke up and said, 'Hey maybe we don’t have to do this anymore'.”

The couple spent the next two years researching how to become farmers, where they could live in Nova Scotia, and how to make the change that Sarah says they "desperately craved."

The answer? Flowers, says Kenny.

“They are a thing of beauty," he said. "It’s really nice to see the look on people’s faces at the market when they see flowers. They just have to have them. Flowers are a real memory trigger for people. They will say, 'Oh, they remind me of my grandmother'.”

Sarah said one of the reasons they chose flower farming is there are many avenues to get their products into the hands of customers.

“We attend farmers' markets weekly in Wolfville and Kentville. We offer a variety of workshops throughout the year and do weddings of every size. We also run a bouquet subscription as well as sell to stores in Halifax and sell to floral designers.”

And, they add, their name is starting to spread.

“They are coming from Halifax to get our flowers, too,” Kenny said.

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A spring bouquet from Two Birds One Stone farm.- Paul Pickrem

Busy season

Preparation for their second growing season started in January, with planning and inside planting. A lot of weddings are booked when people get engaged over Christmas and New Year. They return to the farmers' market in April.

“In May, things get so crazy around here," Sarah said.

That means two inches of compost is spread on the 100-foot rows on the one-acre field, and the greenhouse by hand. Kenny also lays the irrigation lines, and planting begins.

“Even though we only grow on an acre, we replant many plants twice. Some of them we replant three times in a single season. So, we can really crank out the blooms,” Sarah said.

“Putting all of the pieces together requires a lot of planning and an understanding of every crop’s specific needs.”

The farm grows over 100 different kinds of flowers and foliage.

“There is always foliage in a lot of our bouquets. We do a lot of weddings and girls are asking for a lot of greenery in their bouquets. So, we grow our own eucalyptus. “

July to September is the busy wedding season, and there is daily fieldwork.

Weather woes

Like all farmers, the Macalpines have to adjust to the variable weather patterns.

This spring was cold and wet. So, the flowers that were planted didn’t grow as well as they should have. They are also at the mercy of the first fall frost, which signals the end of the flower season.

The Macalpines plan to extend the season, however, by making wreaths and Christmas centrepieces, as well as outdoor planter boxes. Hopefully, they will sell during the holiday season at the farmers' markets.

After a brief downtime, planning next year's garden will begin again in January.

“We want people to experience and appreciate the fleeting beauty of all the seasonal ingredients we work with,” Sarah said.

“We like to be able to connect with people through flowers.”

Editor’s note: This is part of a six-part series looking at local farmers who sell their products at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market.

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Farmers’ markets playing important role for small farms in Nova Scotia

Paul Pickrem (paulpickrem@gmail.com) 

Published: Jul 17 at 9:24 a.m. Kings County Advertiser/Valley Harvester

(Link to Article)

Members of the public shop at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market on a Saturday market day. - Paul Pickrem

Bringing growers, consumers face to face

Farmers’ markets across Nova Scotia are seeking to bridge the gap between consumer’s growing interest in eating healthy, locally-grown food and their desire to access that food in the most convenient ways possible.

Kelly Marie Redcliffe has been the manager of the Wolfville Farmers' Market (WFM) for 20 years. She says farmers' markets play an important role in communities by bringing consumers and farmers face to face.

“Eye to eye contact between the customer and the farmer builds trust, and people get to ask the farmer how the produce was grown, how to cook with it. A lot of food skills are developed just by putting people together,” Redcliffe said in a recent interview.

“The less people involved in getting the food to their plate, the less connected they are and the less they think about how the food got there. It means they understand less about the role of the farmer in that process.”

Redcliffe said the markets play a dual role within their communities.

“They play a role as community builders. And they play a role in incubating small farms and agri-producers and makers of handmade products,” she said.

“They act a lot like social enterprises within their community, on the one hand, nourishing the community itself, and on the other hand, growing the local economy. Particularly in the agri-producers sector.”

Leading Canada

Justin Cantafio is the executive director of The Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia. He said in an email Nova Scotia's farmers' market sector has more than tripled in size since the founding of the Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia cooperative in 2004.

“In 2004, there were 15 farmers' markets in the province, 11 of which were members of our cooperative. Nova Scotia is now home to over 50 farmers' markets, the most per capita in all of Canada, and 31 of those markets are members of our cooperative,” Cantafio said.

Redcliffe said the farmers’ market sector is getting more sophisticated and is playing a more important role for its vendors and communities these days. More and more markets are operating year-round, have full-time staff and their own facilities, making it possible to serve more vendors and offer a broader range of product to customers year-round.

And, the types of vendors are getting more varied, with more beverages, wine, and newer value-added products like fermented foods. There are also more artisan products.

“As the markets become year-round, the farmers can develop their farms with cold storage and greenhouses so that they can have a longer and more profitable season,” she said.

“WFM has added a mid-week market and an online store to increase the number of sales channels available to its vendors who haven't many other options, just because of their available quantities. This way, both the market and the vendors can grow together.”

And these changes are making a positive difference.

“In 2018 and 2019, our farmers earned 47 per cent of their collective income from our markets. I bet most of them spent a pretty high percentage of that income within our community, too.”

Helping the little guy

Ann Huntley is the president of the WFM and the owner of Moon Tide Farm in Scot's Bay. Huntley has sold food products from her mixed family farm at the market for eight years. She said small scale agri-producers who can't sell into the local chains or food distribution system rely on sales from local farmers markets.

“The Wolfville Farmers' Market has been instrumental in the viability of our farm,” Huntley said.

“A lot of small-scale family farms are making their bread and butter on farmers' market sales on a Saturday morning. Our farms aren’t viable if people don’t show up and shop.

Small scale farms won’t exist if they are not supported.”

Huntley is optimistic that efforts to create new sales opportunities for market vendors outside the Wednesday and Saturday market days, such as the online sales platform called WFM2GO, will help move some small family farms towards sustainability.

The service allows customers to order products from vendors online, which are delivered to 10 drop-off locations between Berwick and Halifax.

“We realize people are looking for local food to fit into their lives in more convenient ways and available in their region and their location rather than coming to the market on market day,” Huntley said.

That's precisely what Kelly Jacques of Bedford wants. She says WFM2GO allows her to access healthy local food and support small farmers.

“It’s very important for me to support local and to eat local,” she said.

“I really like being able to go online and shop for what I want versus trying to fight my way through a busy market. It’s just simple.”

And, added Redcliffe, the farmers should be celebrated for their efforts.

“Our farmers dedicate their lives with extremely long work days and an impressive variety of skills,” Redcliffe said.

“They are growing some truly awesome food while making both the land and our communities healthier for whatever comes next. I wish I could convince everybody just how much impact they can have by simply buying more of their food fresh from people in their community.”

Learn more about WFM2Go

Launched in July 2017 as the first online store offered by a farmers' market in Canada, WFM2Go brings customers and producers closer together with an easy online shopping experience.

How it works:

  • Shop with WFM2Go.ca between Wednesday at 7 p.m. until Monday at 7 p.m.

  • Choose from over 300 local products offered by 30 vendors (produce, meat, dairy, bread, beverages, health products, plants/flowers and more)

  • Farmers and producers pick and pack orders Tuesdays (sometimes even Wednesday morning)

  • Everything is then packed for each customer Wednesday morning at the Market.

  • We deliver orders to hub locations from Berwick to HRM for pick up Wednesday afternoons

  • Available year-round

  • Hub locations are in Berwick, Canning, Wolfville, Windsor, Bedford, Dartmouth, Halifax North End, and Upper Tantallon.


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Brandt’s Bees celebrates, protects honey bees

The Register/Advertiser

Published: Jul 19 at 4:27 p.m.

Updated: Jul 19 at 4:30 p.m. Kings County Advertiser/Valley Harvester

(Link to article here)

Jane Brandt, of Brandt’s Bees, shows some of the products they sell. - Contributed

WOLFVILLE, N.S. — By Paul Pickrem

Things are buzzing at Brandt’s Bees.

Jane and Perry Brandt have been selling honey and other honey by-products for 11 years, made from about 100 bee colonies located between Wolfville and Lockhartville.

In a recent interview, Perry Brandt described Brandt's Bees as a "mom and pop honey bee farm."

“It’s just my wife and me. We do everything from manage and tend the bees to selling our finished product," he said. "Jane makes the candles and beeswax food wraps and the value-added stuff. And I’m responsible for the health and wellbeing of the bees.”

While a large commercial operation might have a lot of employees and some automation, such as bottling machines, Brandt's Bees is a hands-on business.

"Every jar of honey I sell passes through my hands," Brandt said.

“I can pay a little more attention to each of my colonies than somebody running perhaps thousands of hives.”

FROM HOBBY TO BUSINESS

Perry started keeping bees as a hobby 20 years ago. He's chosen not to move his hives to pollination, which he said has improved performance and is better for the overall health of the bees. And, he has placed some colonies in abandoned orchards to try to protect them from the ill effects of chemical spraying.

“The health of the honey bee is under so many stresses now. Viruses that bee colonies used to be able to deal with now can take them out,” he said.

Brandt said honey bees are focused on one task.

“A honey bee just wants to work. And that’s all a honey bee wants to do," he said. "They have a very short life this time of year. Five to six weeks from birth to death. And they work incredibly hard during that time. They should be cherished for what they do.”

Perry said honey bees provide much more than honey itself.

"The honey is actually a by-product of their most important function, which is pollination. They are responsible for one in three bites of food we take. And it's all the good stuff, as far as I'm concerned. All your stone fruits – apples, pears, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries – all the delicious stuff. I want people to know how important they are."

VITAL ROLE

"Without bees, we would have a pretty bland diet," Jane Brandt said in an interview.

The Brandts enjoy sharing the responsibilities of running a small business.

“Perry does the bees. That’s his passion. And, I support the other end of the business,” Jane said.

Her end of the business includes making beeswax, used in making candles and as an ingredient in lip balm lotions and soap. She also makes food wraps which are used to cover food in place of plastic wrap.

“The food wraps are very popular,” she said. “People are aware of their plastic footprint, and they want to do what they can to reduce their use of plastic.”

She said food can be directly wrapped using the beeswax food wraps, or it can be used to cover a bowl or can. It's reusable, washable and compostable, and is made using 100 per cent cotton soaked in an emulsion of beeswax, resin and jojoba oil.

AN AMAZING WORLD

Perry wants more people to learn about the fascinating work of honey bees.

“You have to go inside a hive to see it and believe it. To see how 50 to 60 thousand bees work for one common goal. And they are selfless in what they do. It’s an amazing world inside a hive,” he said.

“I always have an extra suit or two. If somebody wants to tag along for an hour or two and see exactly what goes on inside a beehive, I have no problem taking someone along. It's fun to share."

Brandts Bees sells their products at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and online at WFM2GO.

Editor’s note: This is part of a six-part series looking at some of the farmers featured at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market.



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Head wine maker John Mclarty is shown in the wine cellar at Planters Ridge Winery in Port Williams. - Paul Pickrem

Life is too short to drink crappy wine’

Paul Pickrem (paulpickrem@gmail.com) 

Published: Jul 19 at 4:11 p.m. Kings County Advertiser/Valley Harvester

(Link to article here)

Planters Ridge winemakers celebrating nine years in a challenging industry

PORT WILLIAMS, N.S. — A vineyard in Port Williams is celebrating a decade of producing wine varietals made from locally-grown grapes hearty enough to thrive in Nova Scotia’s climate, soil, and topography.

Planters Ridge Winery began to take shape when co-owners John Mclarty and Lisa Law were living in Ontario. On a Sunday morning in early 2010, Mclarty did a Google search for “wineries for sale." They were surprised and intrigued when Nova Scotia came up.

“We expected something might come up in Ontario, British Columbia, California or maybe Europe," he said in a recent interview.

"We were not even aware that there was a fledgling industry out here at that time. We decided to investigate because it looked like there were opportunities because it was a new and upcoming region.”

After several trips evaluating locations from Cape Breton to Bear River, the couple chose the Port Williams location on a 7.5-acre farm, with a 150-year-old house and barn, spectacular views and a rich history steeped in the New England Planter culture.

They moved quickly, having the land drained and tiled in the fall of 2010 and the vineyard planted in the spring of 2011. There are 5,200 grapevines in production on 18 acres in Port Williams and a second location at the base of the North Mountain.

CHALLENGING INDUSTRY

Mclarty’s experience as a chemical engineer and growing up on a farm, combined with Law's experience as a controller and accountant, have helped them build a successful business. However, making a go of it in the competitive wine industry is fraught with challenges.

“We are not just competing against the local grape and wine producers in this region,” Mclarty said.

“We are competing against Canadian and international wines because that’s what people in Canada, and particularly in Nova Scotia, are used to.”

Pine Ridge Winery prioritizes sustainable farming practices that include a combination of organic and conventional methods to deal with the major moulds that thrive in Nova Scotia’s cool climate. Fungicides are used to protect the vines only when necessary.

“When it comes to pesticide use, our major issues here in the Valley have to do with fungal problems and mildew,” Mclarty said.

“There are very few insects here. We don’t have to get involved with insecticides like some of the apple growers do because we don’t have those pests.”

FARMING TECHNIQUES

As the head winemaker, Mclarty has learned valuable lessons over the first 10 years.

“What we are finding out, the longer we are in the wine business, is it really comes down to the quality of the grapes you grow, and all these things you do in the vineyard do dramatically affect it," he said.

"The hand harvesting and the gentle treatment practices we follow are all things that are extremely important to us to get the desired grape quality because that predicates the wine quality you are going to make at the end of the day."

The short growing season in Nova Scotia and the variable climate offer unique challenges to Nova Scotia winemakers.

“You really have to be a better winemaker in a cool climate than a hot climate. We have to be very adaptable. We have to compensate for what Mother Nature is throwing at us,” Mclarty said.

“When you make wine from good grapes, the wine almost makes itself. We want to make the best wine possible. Life is too short to drink crappy wine.”

Editor’s note: This is part of a six-part series featuring some of the farmers who sell their products at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market.


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 Emily teBogt is shown with two of her sheep. - Paul Pickrem

My life’s calling’: Young farmer forging new path on family farm

Paul Pickrem (paulpickrem@gmail.com) 

Published: July 25, 2019 Kings County Advertiser/Valley Harvester

(Link to article here)

WOLFVILLE, N.S. — A young Valley farmer is following in her family’s footsteps. But, she is doing it her way.

Emily teBogt has carved out four acres of fields on her family’s 450-acre dairy and chicken farm near Wolfville. The land was bought by her grandfather and his brothers in 1955.

Over the last nine years, she has developed her own business, teBogt’s Meat and Produce, where she sells spray-free vegetables and food products from her own sheep, pigs and laying hens, directly to her customers.

“I started working for my family when I was a little kid. Helping out with chores and bringing hay in and stuff,” she said in a recent interview.

“When I was 18 years old, they let me use a field to grow vegetables, mostly sweet corn. And, I sold that in my driveway."

Her entrepreneurial spirit was born.

"A year later I bought sheep," she says. "A year after that, I got the pigs and the laying hens and started my own business.”

Emily teBogt sells spray-free vegetables at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market.

teBogt said starting her own business, with veggies and sheep, felt like the right thing to do.

“It just makes me happy in a different way than helping my family with their cattle and their chickens. I enjoyed doing that as a kid, but I always knew I wanted to do something different because I wasn’t very interested in cattle or chickens," she said,

She was certain that farming was the right direction for her.

"I wanted to work outside, not be confined in the barns. I have allergies to cattle and dust and hay," she said.

"I feel that you have to find your own path and do what makes you happy. So, I followed my heart.”

FORGING HER PATH

teBogt liked the idea of selling her product directly to customers.

“That’s not something you can do if you are a dairy or chicken farmer. With supply management, your products have to go to the plant," she said.

She also had her own ideas about how to raise her livestock.

“With the livestock, I wanted to raise them more naturally, outside on pasture. I love seeing my sheep out there grazing, and they feed themselves. They look so happy out there.”

teBogt’s passion for growing vegetables was ignited when she attended the New Farmers Gathering in Black River in 2009. What she saw there inspired her to attend the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, where she completed a plant science diploma in 2012.

“I saw them growing vegetables there, and I thought that looked really cool," she said. "That made me want to go to school and learn about vegetable production because I didn’t know anything about it. It was something telling me I needed to go learn how to grow vegs and grow them.”

It took some research, she admits.

“When I started, I just planted some seeds,” she remembers.

“I had to research what is the spacing for corn. I planted it, and it grew. I just had good luck, and I seemed to be naturally good at it. It was like my calling in life.”

‘FOLLOW YOUR HEART’

teBogt’s twin sister, Susan Hamilton, of Lower Onslow, is also an independent business owner.

Hamilton was always interested in beef, chickens, turkeys and pigs. However, she shares her sister’s determination to do things her own way.

“We both farm. But we are independent and started our own business so we could raise animals outside on pasture and sell directly to consumers," teBogt said.

teBogt’s advice to young farmers is simple: “Follow your heart and do what you feel is right, even if someone else is telling you no. I know what I want to do. And I do it.”

That kind of determination hasn’t always been well received.

“One of my uncles said to my father, 'The girls have crazy ideas'," she says. "But, now he looks at our animals and thinks it’s great. And my food tastes better than the food he would buy at the grocery store.”

teBogt acknowledges farming is a lot of hard work, and it can be stressful. But, in the end, she said her love for what she does can get her through the bad times.

“I love my animals a lot, and I get a lot of joy out of having them. I have to farm. It's just my life’s calling, my path in life.”

- This is part of a six-part series looking at some of the farmers who sell their products at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market.


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‘Popular consciousness’ growing in Wolfville as zero waste ‘trending’ at farmers’ market

Sara Ericsson (sara.ericsson@saltwirwe.com)

Published: Feb 02 2019 at 5:21 p.m. Kings County

(Link to article here)

Corinna Paumier is the communications manager for the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and said the use of dishware and other sustainability-minded efforts are trends many market-goers are buying into. - Sara Ericsson

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Wolfville Farmers’ Market has set a new trend for people to follow that is popular with both its consumers and the environment.

The market hosted its Zero Waste Day Feb. 2 and encouraged all shoppers to use its dishes – plates, bowls, mugs and cutlery – as they purchased food, or to bring their own thermoses and water bottles in lieu of disposable containers.

But it’s something that goes beyond their one-day event, says market communications manager Corinna Paumier. The market hosted the event to showcase its continuing waste reduction and proper sorting of the materials it does produce – something Paumier says it is committed to, as a “community hub.”

“As the market’s pushing forward as a pillar in the community, sustainability is a really big part of continuing to be that community centre, so it’s important we do as much as we can,” she says, noting the market's wall of mugs, plates and cutlery many already use during Wednesday market suppers and Saturday morning snacks.

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Heidi Onyschuk is the vendor the behind Heidi’s Beads ‘N’ Buns jewelry business and has sold her wares at the market for 17 years. She said seeing people use dishes, rather than coffee cups and paper plates, is something she is happy to see happening.

“Because this is a place many people meet, it makes sense to have these dishes for community to use.”

The trend is one that many like market vendor Heidi Onyschuk, who has participated in the market with her ‘Heidi’s Beads ‘N’ Buns’ jewelry business for 17 years, is glad to see gaining traction.

Onyschuk says not only does the day “help keep coffee cups and other food waste out of landfills,” it also shows how committed Wolfville and surrounding community is to sustainability.

“It’s so nice to see how everyone is working with it, both buying into it and supporting it – like there are people who volunteered to help provide and collect dishes people are using today,” she says.

Paumier says the practice is also trending outside the market, with many consumers paying attention to reusing and recycling materials and become increasingly aware of general waste reduction practices – trends she sees on social media that she has dubbed “a growing popular consciousness.”

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Gaspereau-area resident Henry Hoeksma is a regular at the market, and said that while he always intends to bring his reusable coffee thermos, he sometimes forgets. He said he was glad the Zero Waste Day event was advertised, because it meant he remembered to bring it.

“Those are the things that get the most attention on our social media. The difference between a regular post and another that is about zero-waste or sustainability is 1 to 100 – people are really latching on to it,” she says.

Market customer Henry Hoeksma lives in the Gaspereau area, and says he attends the market “each and every weekend.”

He says while he normally tries to remember to bring his reusable coffee thermos, he remembered today because of the specific event and thinks the idea is “obviously good” as it encourages people like him to remember to reuse.

“I’m very keen on this market, and what it does. I think it’s great to have events like this,” he says.

“I always want to bring my mug, but I have to actually remember to. And today, I remembered because of this.”


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Wolfville Farmers' Market launches town's largest solar installation

NEWS PROVIDED BY

Bullfrog Power

Sep 26, 2018, 08:00 ET

Bullfrogpowered community of homes and businesses supports new green energy project

WOLFVILLE, NS, Sept. 26, 2018 /CNW/ - Today, the Wolfville Farmers' Market is unveiling a new solar installation, the largest in the town, which will power the Market year-round. The 20 kW installation is made possible thanks to support from Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading green energy provider, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), a government organization responsible for creating economic growth in the Atlantic Provinces. The grand opening is taking place this afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Market.

Patrons of the Wolfville Farmers' Market celebrate the launch of a 20 kW solar installation. (CNW Group/Bullfrog Power)

The project was initiated by Wayne Groszko, Applied Energy Research Scientist at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), who thought it would make an ideal learning experience for students. After students completed a solar feasibility study as part of their term assignment, the Market stepped in with a desire to build the actual array. With funding from Bullfrog Power and ACOA, Wolfville Farmers' Market was able to complete the project. The solar panels sitting atop the Market now reduce the facility's emissions footprint by 16 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and save the organization approximately $2,700 per year in energy costs.

"We jumped at the opportunity to support this solar installation," said Holly Bond, Vice President Regional Sales, Bullfrog Power. "It represents everything the bullfrogpowered community stands for: helping advance clean energy development across Canada; educating individuals on the benefits of renewable power; and supporting community groups as they develop these projects throughout the country."

"Solar power at the Wolfville Farmers' Market is a wonderful step for this community — one that will help show that we can all be part of the transition to a renewably powered future," says Wayne Groszko, NSCC. "I see the key role the Market plays in the local community and I want it to be as sustainable as possible — so when I saw an opportunity to involve students from our Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology program at NSCC's Annapolis Valley Campus, I connected the two groups. We are thankful for the support of the bullfrogpowered community and couldn't have done the project without them."

As part of its work as a social enterprise, Bullfrog Power has supported more than 140 green energy projects nationwide through its Community Renewable Projects Program. Through the Program, Bullfrog uses its customers' support to provide critical funding to community-based green energy projects. For example, Bullfrog Power has helped fund rooftop solar projects on the Hope Blooms community greenhouse in Halifax, and the Deanery Project education site near Ship Harbour, N.S.— both of which educate youth on the benefits of renewable energy. In Nova Scotia, Bullfrog's community of local businesses includes Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op, which has locations right in Wolfville and nearby Grand Pré.

"Our farmers have long experienced the benefits of the sun's energy — in the growth and abundance of their crops. It's fitting that the Market that houses them is now also powered by the sun's rays through this solar project," says Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Manager, Wolfville Farmers' Market. "So many people have worked together to make this project possible. I especially want to thank Wayne Groszko for inspiring us and leading the project, Bullfrog Power for giving us funding that became the financial impetus and Sage Energy for doing the hard work of installing the project."

About Wolfville Farmers' Market


Started in 1992 with three vendors in a parking lot, Wolfville Farmers' Market has grown and is now housed in a 9,000-square-foot facility that was once an apple warehouse. Operating year-round, the Market hosts a Saturday Market with 70 farmers, chefs and artisan vendors, and a Wednesday Market Supper. The Market also has an online store and delivery service (WFM2Go), which helps bring the Wolfville Farmers' Market (WFM) to residents of eight communities in the Annapolis Valley and Halifax regions. 

About Bullfrog Power


Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading green energy provider, offers renewable energy solutions that enable individuals and businesses to reduce their environmental impact, support the development of green energy projects in Canada and help create a cleaner, healthier world. As a Certified B Corporation, Bullfrog Power meets higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Thousands of individuals and businesses in Canada are doing their part to address climate change and air pollution by choosing green energy with Bullfrog Power. Sign up easily, quickly and affordably at bullfrogpower.com.

Join the bullfrogpowered community online on Facebook (facebook.com/BullfrogPower), Instagram (@bullfrogpower) and Twitter (@bullfrogpower).

SOURCE Bullfrog Power

For further information: Contact Wolfville Farmers' Market: Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Manager, 902.697.3344, manager@wolfvillefarmersmarket.ca; Contact Bullfrog Power: Audrey Hoddinott, Marketing Communications Director, 416.360.3464 x247, audrey.hoddinott@bullfrogpower.com; Contact for technical details on panels: Wayne Groszko, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Applied Energy Research, Nova Scotia Community College, 902.476.9655, wayne.groszko@nscc.ca

Related Links

www.bullfrogpower.com


WFM2Go the online version of the Wolfville Farmers Market

We learn more about WFM2Go the online version of the Wolfville Farmers Market.


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Vendors at the Wolfville Farmers Market stand in front of the new van for deliveries starting next month to three community hubs.

Wolfville Farmers Market launches WFM2Go

The Register/Advertiser

Published: Jun 15, 2017 at midnight

Updated: Sep 30, 2017 at 12:52 a.m.

WOLFVILLE, NS - The Wolfville Farmers’ Market (WFM), says manager Kelly Marie Redcliffe, is thrilled to share news of the launch of its on-line store and weekly community delivery service WFM2Go.

Redcliffe says the service is designed to offer convenient access to fresh and local products, while also building a robust local economy and healthy connected communities.


Inaugurating this service with 14 WFM vendors, it will offer approximately 150 products and is in partnering with three Community Hubs in Canning, Berwick and Wolfville. 


Customers can choose precisely the products they would like to order with this weekly service, she said.
WFM will offer the service year-round and, Redcliffe noted, is particularly excited to work with the early adopters (vendors, community hubs and customers) throughout each season. 


“This new food distribution system has the potential to vastly increase the sustainability of its smaller producers while offering convenience, accessibility and connection for customers who will pay the same prices as those at the brick and mortar Wolfville Farmers’ Market.”


“We are excited about this project because it improves accessibility to local food for more Nova Scotians and because it creates increased opportunities for small farms and businesses to sell their products and grow as local entrepreneurs - something that we feel is an important step for building a more resilient, local economy,” said Jocelyn Durston of Seven Acres Farm.


The website is now ready for customers to sign up for an account. On Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m., customers can place orders for the first delivery date of Wednesday, July 5.


When customers shop online they can search by product type or producer, and choose the community location where they would like to pick up their products. The weekly ordering cut off on Monday at 5 p.m. allows enough time for producers to harvest and assemble products according to orders and bring them to the Market on Wednesday afternoons where WFM2Go will organize and then deliver to Community Hubs in Canning and Berwick for Wednesday evening. There will also be an option to pick up at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market itself during the Wednesday Market Suppers. 


The community hubs are made up of people and organizations interested in increasing access to fresh local food in their community. Each hub, while offering a pick-up hour for the WFM2Go orders, will have unique programming depending on the needs and assets of their community. 
Hub programs or events might include a speakers’ series, opportunities for other local vendors, recipe swaps or sampling demos and Meet the Farmer Days. Depending on the partners involved in each hub, there will be opportunities for community members to donate gift certificates so that others in their community may be given the opportunity to participate as well, to further increase access to fresh and local products.


“I am excited about the opportunity to bring people and communities together and to break another barrier to accessing local agriculture for community members,” said Jennie Weisner rirector of Canning Recreation and the Hub Host for the Canning Community Hub.


“This project has been a long time coming,” said Redcliffe. “We haven’t been able to find any other examples of a farmers’ market launching its own on-line store and delivery service for their community members, but there are many food hubs, community shared agriculture programs and web developers working to help increase access to local food and we are grateful to all those who have blazed this trail and helped us along the way.”
She said, “I am grateful for our vendors who impress me every week with their amazing products and generosity of spirit. In every way this project has been designed with their sincere wish to nourish and better the health of our communities. It’s the kind of success I feel so privileged to be part of and I am very excited by the possibilities.”


Those who wish to become early adopters of this service can read more and sign-up now at: https://wfm2go.localfoodmarketplace.com. There is also a WFM2Go
Facebook Page and Instagram Account for those who want to be part of the WFM2Go Community.

History of the On-line Store


Growth for the WFM and its vendors had been sustainable and constant over the years, however in the last five years, growth for its agri-producers has become more or less stagnant. At the same time, the WFM’s primary producers have become sophisticated marketers, have developed their farms and are poised for growth.
WFM , along with the farmers’ market sector as a whole, has identified that many consumers are treating Farmers’ Markets as a social gathering space where they do not necessarily purchase their groceries. Although Farmers’ Markets are attracting attention, business has levelled off for many producers. Additionally, despite the consumer’s appetite for local purchasing, there are many barriers to purchasing groceries at the local farmers market, including: crowds, the need to use cash, line-ups for every vendor, perception around costs due to use of cash and individualized/segmented purchases, the question of what’s available on any given day, making it to the market during its specific time-frame of operation and its distance from many outlying communities. For some consumers, these are opportunities, which the WFM’s success attests to, but for others these are insurmountable barriers. 
Instead of assuming that this was a marketing issue, or that it was time to settle, the WFM began exploring an IT solution to these issues. In 2014, they partnered with HarvestHand, a local software development company, which had created software for Community Shared Agriculture. HarvestHand created a shopping list application for WFM called ‘What’s Fresh’ that enabled each vendor to have an account and input their available products each week. This was successfully trialed for a six month period in which the WFM was able to identify their vendor’s commitment to an IT approach to growth, and their customer’s interest, not so much in what was available at the market, but the opportunity to purchase it. With this experience, the cooperative decided to move forward with an e-commerce platform and worked with another progressive Nova Scotian software developer working to create software for a network of food hubs in an effort to build connection and food security and give communities the resources to gain access to local food. The Hive Market wasn’t quite ready in time for the July launch of WFM2Go, but fortunately, and with the help of its original software partners, the WFM found an off-the-shelf software platform with Local Food Marketplace out of Eugene, Oregon that was designed for food hubs and online stores that deliver. 
Through the process of working with software developers, the cooperative learned a lot about what is involved in operating an on-line delivery operation. The process has also given the WFM an opportunity to really explore which model of operation would be best given its strengths (great vendors, a healthy organization, extensive positive partnerships, a trusted brand, and a vision to better the health and vibrancy of communities). The WFM felt it was uniquely positioned to leverage these strengths to do something it saw no other farmers’ market doing, but also something that it could envision others doing. 

First Subsequent Year


The WFM has committed to this project year-round for the first year in order to assess its viability through the seasons. During this year, it will assess and increase the number of vendors, Community Hubs and customers according to capacity and growth potential. The market has no intention of stopping at the end of this period, but has committed to 15 months regardless of any potential challenges.

A new Food Distribution Model


This new food distribution model, which builds on the farmers’ market cooperative model, is meant to address the needs and wishes of everyone in the food system. The producers gain new customers to help them build sustainable farms. The WFM diversifies its own income while aggregating and delivering product for its vendors in a sustainable operation. The Community Hubs can build a unique community development opportunity around accessible local food. And, of course, the consumer gets increased service, choice and convenience along with connection and quality fresh local products while paying the same prices for products as those who buy from the brick and mortar Wolfville Farmers’ Market.