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A new way to shop local, while also being environmentally sustainable, is coming to Kelowna in the near future.
The community will soon have its first zero waste organic grocery store, where they only use packaging that is reusable, refillable, or compostable.
Although the store, Farm Bound Zero Waste, is only about 800-square-feet, it will offer a wide range of produce grown in B.C. or the Okanagan, as well as locally sourced meats, tofu, spices, zero waste living supplies, and dried goods. Located in the downtown core at 438 Lawrence Ave, the store will also have an apothecary that will provide products like herbs and essential oils.
The store was originally set to open in September, 2018, however, a water main broke under the store on two different occasions, delaying the opening until February, 2019.
Farm Bound started three and a half years ago in the North Okanagan as a organic food delivery service available across B.C. With the Physical store, founder and owner Jaye Coward says it’s being taken one step further from giving people local, organic options, to making people think about the packaging their food comes in.
“We want to give people that opportunity to take that next step beyond just eating organic and local and take a look at what we don’t have to use in order to get our food, like the plastic and the packaging, and the bags,” she explains. “And if we can just remove that stuff, we’ll go one step further and the store is kind of a testing ground for that. It’s an opportunity for people to shift a little bit.”
Local is a big mandate, according to Coward, and that was the gap she identified when Farm Bound first started.
“We identified a gap of people wanting to eat local food, but it’s just not easy to get it all in one spot. You have to go to the farmers’ market and you have to go to this farm stand and that farm stand. So, we wanted to start a company where you can get all the best local food through an online ordering system and we bring it to you,” she explains.
The idea for the company came from a previous project that she worked on that was a not for profit called Monashee Community Co-op, which provides the community of Lumby with wholesome local foods. During a permaculture design course held there, Coward describes how she learned about how different plants in a community work together and have different strengths, which helped her start Farm Bound.
“I always thought I was cheating that I wasn’t growing my own food and I just had this really big thing, like I don’t have to grow the food, I can let the farmers grow the food,” she says. “But I’m really passionate about the food so this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I decided to start Farm Bound as a for-profit business.”
In addition to the new Kelowna store, Okanagan residents can expect Farm Bound grocery stores to pop up in Penticton and Vernon in the months to come. Vernon will already have access to a taste of what the store will offer, as Coward is planning on having a mini shop out of their warehouse.