Two Yellowknife-based food producers have amalgamated to become an urban market garden and micro-bakery running on a subscription model.
Kyle Thomas, founder of With Bread, and Marie Auger of Sweet Ride Hives and Market Garden have merged their operations to form Bush Order Provisions.
Thomas and Auger plan to become a commercial operation and hope to acquire a larger agricultural property by next summer.
“I have been experimenting with local food production and wanted to do something more independent,” said Auger, who will serve as Bush Order Provisions’ lead grower.
Thomas has sold his sourdough bread and bagels at the local farmers’ market since 2013.
The two say they realized their independent operations went hand-in-hand. They hope their home-based business can grow into something that fills food security gaps in Yellowknife by producing more food locally.
“We’re very small-scale right now, and we’re really more focusing on calorie-dense foods and crops that grow really well here on a small scale,” explained Auger.
This summer’s business model focuses on community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscriptions, where people pay up front so Bush Order Provisions has the overhead money for supplies. Then, throughout the summer, the company will provide clients with weekly boxes of fresh vegetables and bread.
“We limited the number of CSA boxes we have this year just because it’s our first year doing it. We need to make sure that we’re providing the level of quality and quantity that people would expect in such a box,” Thomas said, noting their 15 subscription boxes sold out in a day despite hardly any advertising.
After the CSA boxes are filled, the two will sell leftover bread and vegetables at the farmers’ market. They hope to launch a bread or bagel subscription option soon.
Thomas and Auger noted their permit allows them to sell products and produce to restaurants and businesses. Where else their products will be available has yet to be confirmed.
“Our hope would be that next summer, we would be on a bigger property and be able to expand,” said Thomas, who would like to regularly supply local grocery stores.
The two are also thinking about how to give back to the community.
“If there’s some kind of social impact, a way we can bring local food to those who need it the most, then we’re going to look at those options,” said Thomas.
“We definitely want to be able to give back to the community as they’re supporting us as we’re growing.”