Our journey to eating local
Welcome to goodfood2u’s blog. Goodfood2u is an Ottawa-based online grocery store that focuses on local and organic whole foods. We fill our store with fresh organic produce and household staples that ensures healthy eating. Best of all, you can order online and we deliver to your door.
Goodfood2u is a family business. My partner Yannick and I took this business over in 2013, shortly before having our 4th child. We had been customers of this business, then Life Organic, for years and we were presented the option to take it over from the original owner. While not a superb time to be diving into business ownership, we did it because in our hearts we are passionate about local, organic, sustainable food, healthy eating and sharing what we know about food systems.
Our journey to good food took us far. We both grew up in homes that most often had meat and potato home cooked meals. In our early 20’s we began exploring vegetarian meals and international cuisine. At the same time we explored local agriculture and started to learn about fair trade. And then, we moved to Northern Ghana, Bolgatanga to be exact. We lived in “Bolga” for 3-years, volunteering with CUSO and because of the lack of grocery stores and markets that carried every ingredient you could ever want, we had to learn to cook all over again.
Fortunately for us other CUSO volunteers in Bolga had the must have recipe book, The Wild Boar on the Kitchen Floor, Cooking in West Africa. This recipe book created by Harriet Hill who inspired us to become the foodies we are today, thanks Harriet!
While living in Ghana we started from scratch to make everything. Bread, tortillas, lasagna noodles, yogurt, were all made from scratch. Our most amazing feat took two days to prepare; a vegetarian lasagna. We made the cheese from powdered milk, we made the lasagna noodles from flour and without any sort of pasta making machine, we made the sauce from tomatoes. Honestly, it took 2 days and it was the best lasagna I have ever eaten!
We developed a reputation for our cooking in the region. Fellow Canadians would “drop by” at dinnertime. We used the plethora of pumpkins that grew each year in our yard to make pumpkin pies that sold for high prices to volunteers from Canada and the US.
Eating local, took on new meaning. Produce was available in the local markets or street stalls. If it was a time of year when local produce was not plentiful, there were no other options.
There were times in the year when we would go to market and find only pathetic looking onions and tomatoes for fresh produce, nothing else! Or worse yet, was the day when there were only dried hot peppers! And there were times when there were more watermelons on every street corner in Bolga that you had to wonder who was possibly going to eat ALL those watermelons. We were grateful for the times of plenty, and longed for a grocery store full of produce in the days of hot peppers only!
We also witnessed first hand, the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of farmers in the Sahel. Grain storage buildings used to be full of millet and rice to get families through the dry season, however by the early 2000’s it was getting more and more difficult to have enough grains to get you through the year. Climate change was wreaking havoc with peoples’ abilities to feed themselves and make a living. We realized how much our life impacted the very livelihoods of others.
So, three years of living in this environment shaped us. It shaped us to want to support local sustainable farming. It reinforced that we had to tread lightly on this overpopulated earth as we possibly could, so that meant supporting organic, buying local, choosing our bikes over a car. (We really want to get a bike delivery vehicle on the road one day!) It made us want food that we knew what was in it. After eating food that was made from scratch for 3-years we were overwhelmed by the highly processed, additive-laden ‘food’ that occupies most grocery stores. Our taste buds and our stomachs couldn’t handle it.
When we returned to Ottawa we sought out local CSA’s, we formed a buying club from a natural foods co-op, we cooked. And we learned more and more about crazy agri-food business that has become so dominant in North America.
We intend to share what we have learned and continue to learn through this blog. In a way that provides information and ideas. We do this, because we know that this journey has been unique and provides us insight and we believe that this insight has value in being shared. For our health, the health of our communities and the health of our global commons.