On a visit to Prince Edward County, Ontario, Stonemill Bakehouse president Gottfried Boehringer came across a field of sunflowers that were being grown for birdseed and decoration. As a leading Canadian baker of natural, healthy artisan breads, Stonemill had until then needed to source much of its sunflower seed from abroad. “I thought, ‘This is crazy.’ Here we have sunflowers, which we can’t buy for our bread, because the infrastructure is not there. I just didn’t think it made sense.”

“We encourage other like-minded organizations to join our journey so we can all share what the local land has to offer. Together, we can grow sustainable ingredients that don’t have to be trucked in from miles away.”

Stonemill Bakehouse decided to take the unusual step of buying a farm in Prince Edward County, Ontario, so that it could grow its own grain. The aim, he says, is “to be a catalyst for the creation of a local infrastructure that connects farmers directly with bakeries and ultimately, consumers.”

Bought last year, the 100-acre farm paves the way for Stonemill to grow source ingredients locally for its bread. The first crop was harvested in August, yielding 120-tonnes of rye.

“We encourage other like-minded organizations to join our journey so we can all share what the local land has to offer,” adds Boehringer. “Together, we can grow sustainable ingredients that don’t have to be trucked in from miles away.”

“Ultimately, our goal is to source most – if not all — of our ingredients locally, within the next five years,” Boehringer says. This will be a big step towards leaving a smaller footprint.