Bush Order Provisions is being started with the goal of making Yellowknife a better and more sustainable place to live and visit by pushing the boundaries of producing local food and beverages.
Bush Order will take a multifaceted approach to the products it will produce, with the ultimate goal of creating a circular economy. In order to make local food production sustainable, we have a vision of creating that circular economy within Bush Order. We have visions of storing oven waste heat to heat greenhouses, using the byproducts of one product in the production of another, and generally viewing everything within our operation with this cicular lens.
Our goal is to reduce our use of energy, while also reducing our food and material waste. Saving us operating costs and bring more to market.
The idea of Bush Order Provisions came from the concept of combining multiple complementing and in-demand businesses into one that will produce local products year-round, while also providing a much-needed space for other small food service businesses.
The Bush Order Team
Kyle Thomas has been operating a micro-bakery, called With Bread, since 2013. Since it was established the bakery has supported product sales from the Yellowknife Farmers Market one day a week over 16-weeks between the months of June and September. It is estimated that over 6000 loaves of sourdough bread have been produced for residents of Yellowknife, who don’t otherwise have access to fresh-made local bread. Kyle is also the tinkerer, builder and all about DIY specialist.
Marie Auger is a horticulturist with extensive education and experience in agricultural food production and growing conditions. She has experience working on several small scale farms in British Columbia and right here in Yellowknife. She has grown and sold produce through the Yellowknife Farmers Market and assisted Kyle in the bakery for multiple years. Experimentally, Marie has been establishing the Bush Order honey bee apiary. Marie believes that a sustainable food system all starts with mastering seed starting, without that we are still too reliant on an out-of-territory production chain, and she is certainly not afraid to get her hands dirty… or stung by bees.
When looking at how the two could start a larger scale business together, they immediately considered combining a wholesale bakery with a market garden, making growing food locally sustainable in a relatively new industry in Yellowknife.
The couple plans to maximize the efficiency of their space and infrastructure by utilizing production waste to create additional products or through compost production.
Both being lifelong Yellowknifers, in their spare time, Marie and Kyle can be found hiking, camping and boating on Great Slave Lake with their two dogs, Storm and Queso.
The Big Bush Order Vision
For Marie and Kyle, the vision does not end where their driveway does. The two have a grand vision for bringing online a sustainable food production system. Based on their idea of a circular business model, the idea of following reduce, retain and recycle practices, they plan on scaling their urban model up to a commercial level.
What could a commercial Bush Order Provisions Ltd. look like?
At current, everything is still just a vision with no concrete plans. Plans that will change and evolve based on timelines, location, availability, limitation, finances, etc. What follows is a general big picture concept of what Bush Order plans to accomplish:
On a property in Yellowknife zoned for commercial agriculture use, Bush Order would operate. To start the centrepiece would be a wholesale bakery. One that supplies subscription and delivery orders, retailers, grocery stores, restaurants and farm gate sales. Within the bakery, automated coolers utilizing long cold winter temperatures would be used to store root vegetables and support the long, slow, fermentation needed during the proofing period in bread making.
Leftover bread would be used in various ways and never wasted. The simplest way would be the onsite Bush Order compost program, or even – wild idea – to brew gin.
Heat pumped out of the bakery from the running ovens would be captured and stored in a to-be-determined thermal mass storage device or tied into an existing alternative energy system, such as a wood/pellet boiler system. The heat from the ovens could heat water running through the boiler system, slowing down the dependency on wood/pellets.
That heating system – thermal mass storage or alternative boiler system – would be used to heat the bakery building, but also a plant nursery and greenhouse (which might be one and the same).
The nursery would be a closed room or building, insulated, and potentially removed of all-natural light. It would be used for starting plants from seed. Having a dedicated and organized seed starting area is key to a successful food production system.
The greenhouse would be semi-insulated, where possible, but look like most other greenhouses. In-ground tubing or water lines would be installed on construction and allow for the ground to be temperature controlled year-round lending to optimal soil conditions for growing. The utilized waste heat might not allow for complete year-round growing of vegetables but might significantly increase the viability and sustainability of it for the majority of the year.
Compost will be another key element in this circular model. As mentioned waste products, be it bread, plant clippings, wood ash or spent grains will all be used to produce nutrient-rich compost that will go directly back into use on the property for vegetable growing.
The majority of the property not taken up by the bakery, nursery, greenhouse and compost program would be managed as above-ground, growing rows divided into sections for crops that can be grown outside in the summer – root vegetables, potatoes, leafy greens, and so on.
This is again a vision and not everything will come to fruition all at one or at all. We hope to share more in our online Journal.
This vision is nothing without a community of support, and with that Marie and Kyle are setting out to invite the community to partake in their journey towards food security in the North.
Through educational activities, hands-on experiences, tours, and even food-share programs, Marie and Kyle hope to empower the community to take a closer look at where their food comes from and how it can be produced.
At the same time, the two hope to implement a Direct Giving model where a percentage of bread, vegetables and products produced will be given to those who might need an extra helping hand.