6- Produce no waste

6 ways Permaculture can help to create truly sustainable business

Picture a sustainable business and we often picture renewable energy, recycling, reusing materials, and compostable packaging.

Look up ‘sustainable’, however, in the dictionary and the meaning is ‘to be able to continue over time’.

For a lot of companies, whether motivated by ethics or profits, there is a strong desire to become more ‘sustainable’. However, the barrier to preventing a lot of organisations making this change, comes not from a lack of motivation, but that becoming sustainable, isn’t sustainable for them.

How can we overcome the barriers of change to make switching to being sustainable a more realistic goal for every business?

We copy the most sustainable system we have.


In the areas that we have started to mimic nature we have found unrivalled success. Biomimicry and Permaculture are both based on designing solutions to human problems using natures patterns and strategies. Between them they have lead to leaps in technological advancement and the way we grow food and design landscapes.

Why stop there?

How can we use these same ideas of learning from the natural world to guide our decision making around true sustainability?

Below are 6 ways the Permaculture principles can be a guide to becoming sustainable in a manageable way:

1. Observe and interact

Take time to understand the full picture.

If you want to plant a fruit tree but just place it in the first place you see, chances are it won’t grow well.

Whereas, take time to understand your land, observe the sun, shade, rain etc and you will have a much better idea of where that tree will grow well.

It can be very tempting to jump into projects straight away to see immediate progress. But, if we take the same approach, create time for away days, planning or brainstorming meetings we can get a clear understanding of our circumstances and what might be the best changes to make.

2.Start Small and Slow

Most things in nature change slowly. The forest is forever adapting to changing climates and conditions.

Changing our business should be no different.

If we want to change the landscape of a forest, clear cutting and removing all the trees is not an effective approach.

In business it is no different, if we attempt to change offices, packaging, suppliers, and switch to renewable energy all at once, it will cause a great deal of stress on staff and resources.

A much more sustainable approach would be to focus on one thing to change at a time and build from there.

In the day to day the business looks the same. But over time, like the forest, everything can change.

What is the easiest thing your business could change to make it more sustainable?

3.Integrate Rather than Segregate

Every element in an ecosystem works towards the survival of the whole.

Each plant in an ecosystem fills multiple roles. Whether it be providing habitat/food/shade/nutrients for another, everything contributes to a much bigger picture.

It is all integrated.

This could involve changing the way you have meetings to be more inclusive of different team members.

The way your office is laid out.

Encouraging team building activities to bring staff together

Looking at bringing in an income from your waste or byproducts.

Promoting a cycling to work scheme to reduce emissions and at the same time boost the health of your staff.

Looking at ways to cross sell. If certain customers only buy one of your products, how can you share the rest of your business with them to have them use you for more of their needs?

Nature integrates. An integrated business is a more sustainable one.

4.Obtain a Yield

There is a stigma about sustainability that it shouldn’t be for profit or gain. There is some negativity around Patagonia, for example, that they make a lot of money from their ethical approach. Sustainability sells.

The reality, however, is that changing to become sustainable isn’t the easy option.

If you do make changes, promote it, share the story. Look for ways you can gain from the changes you are making.

If you can increase your revenues from changing to a more environmental approach it will make your business more sustainable long term. It will also encourage staff, and shareholders to get behind the changes, making the whole project much more achievable.

Replicate nature and try to make you’re efforts worthwhile.


Nature is diverse.

Often our businesses are not.

Diversity comes in many forms.

The people who make up our team. The products we sell. The flexibility of working hours. The markets we operate in.

Encouraging diversity in these areas has multiple benefits.

It brings in a range of ideas and view points. Allows us to target a wide range of customers. Benefits the wellbeing of the team and allows us to select from a wider range of talent. Protects us from changes in the market and demand for our product/services.

Encourage diversity.

6. produce no Waste

This one is quite obvious.

Nothing in nature creates waste except for humans.

Our businesses are often the worst offenders.

Turning your business into a zero waste one is a clear big win for sustainability and replicating nature. But, it isn’t easy and can be a big challenge to take on even for the most ethically minded business.

However, if we can use nature as a guide we can make this a much more sustainable goal:

  1. Observe. Take time to understand how much waste you produce and where it goes.

  2. Start Small. Create SMART and small realistic goals to make one small improvement to you waste.

  3. Integrate. Get the whole team on board. Don’t just leave it to one person to take responsibility.

  4. Obtain a Yield. Celebrate your success. Create rewards for the team if you hit your target. Share what you are doing to your audience.

  5. Diversify. Once you build momentum, tackle another project. Keep the momentum going!

Lots of companies already use these approaches to great success, and perhaps there is a reason why they work so efficiently.

Nature knows best.

How to take a digital detox


How to take a digital detox

I've never paid much attention to detoxes. The idea of cutting out toxins or things that are supposedly unhealthy for a short period of time only to take them back up again doesn't make sense to me. I'd rather just attempt to drink and eat healthy all the time and avoid the need to detox in the first place. Recently, however, I've become increasingly aware, that at 32, it is perhaps time for my first detox. The toxin that I need a break from, the digital world.

Having been born in the early 80's, I consider myself very fortunate to have spent over 50% of my life in a non digital world. I have fond memories of when the closest I had to receiving a text was to get hit in the head by a note thrown by a friend when the teacher wasn't looking, pictures needed to be developed and were shared by hand, and having lots of followers probably wouldn't have been a good thing. I remember arranging to meet people and then having to be actually be there on time, to getting on a bus or train and not having something in my pocket to entertain me, so instead, simply looking out of the window, and living a life with far less distractions and far more time spent outside.

I feel a bit sorry for kids nowadays. They have been raised in a digital world their whole lives. While there are clearly advantages to this, such as the ability to have instant access to information and inspiration, and to prove your friends wrong in the pub immediately, there are also disadvantages that come from it. We are surrounded 24 hours a day 365 days a year by distractions. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Texts, News, TV, Spotify, Netflix, TV on demand, the list is endless and it is all instantly available, all we have to do is reach into our pockets and your distraction of choice is there for the taking. I miss those hours of frustration spent racking your brain for the answer to pointless questions. Now the answer is given almost before the question has finished being asked, usually by a smug looking me, face lit up by my LED encyclopedia. If you look around, more and more of us are choosing the distractions over real life. So often when we are presented with a free minute or two we choose to be distracted, in a restaurant when our friend goes to the toilet, on the toilet, waiting for a bus, on the bus, whatever the situation, if we are given time, there is that instinctive reaction to go for our pockets, to be entertained.

I need a cleanse from this.

I realised that whenever I was presented with this free time I was often repeating a cycle with my phone or laptop.

Facebook, hmmm seen that funny cat video twice already...

Instagram... still no likes....

Let's see if the news headlines have changed....nope...

Better check the weather again...

I know how ridiculous this is. It's a massive waste of my time yet I still do it, we all do. If you were a channel flicker as a child then the internet and social media is a dream come true for twisting until you find entertainment. It scares me to think how much time I have wasted on this.

With any bad habit, the first step to resolving it is to realise there is a problem in the first place. I know there is a level of hypocrisy in me saying all this seeing as you are reading my blog online and there's a chance you found out I'd posted a new one via a social media link I sent out. It's probably not great for my ratings or whatever you call it on blogs? to encourage you to spend less time online but I think you should at least ask yourself if you do spend too much time online? Some people have a great balance for this already. If you are one of those people you can probably stop reading and head on back to the real world. I however, need a detox from this. I am not suggesting a blanket ban. But I have devised some steps I have taken and will be taking, that I thought I would share, to help take a step back from it all and spend a little more time smelling the roses.

  1. Disconnect your TV. I haven't had a connected TV for the last three years and wish I had done it sooner. I still have a TV and watch the occasional movie or TV show through my laptop on it, but gone is the habit of coming home and having the TV on in the background or channel flicking in search of some entertainment. If this seems a bit drastic try going a week without turning the TV on at all, listen to some music, read a book, talk to your partner/friends more, play a game or just enjoy some silence.
  2. Turn off all notifications from your phone. The phone is like a little devil on our shoulder. "Check me! Check me!" At times we forget it's there but then... BEEEEEP!  Our attention is taken from the real world and is instead drawn to the phone. The more notifications I turn off, the less time spent on my phone. That instagram/facebook post was still there when I looked later on. I really wasn't missing anything.
  3. Remove as many apps as possible from your phone. In my deepest digital obsession I had pages and pages of apps on my phone. Social media, news feeds, weather apps, message services, games, all sorts of random crap. Each app needed attention. Any free moment was elongated as I checked each app to make sure I wasn't missing anything...I wasn't...but I needed to double check. I now only have a few that I have decided actually add value to my life, I have kept instagram (I'll come to that later) but all other social media have gone from my phone, anything I haven't used in the last month gets deleted. Less apps = less time on the phone.
  4. Unfollow everyone on social media. Ok maybe not everyone, but get ruthless. That friend on facebook you haven't spoken to in person or on even on facebook for the last 10 years... do you really need to see that they liked a meme about rabbits? Cut em. The less new information you have on your social media feeds the less time you will spend scrolling on them. This is a good thing. If you feel a bit harsh fully "defriending" someone on facebook there is a magic little option to stop seeing their posts, use it. If you use twitter and instagram try limiting the amount of people you follow. I dont really use twitter, but I have set a limit to only follow a max of 100 people on instagram. Less new pics = less time spent.
  5. Unsubscribe to all newsletters. It's amazing the random emails lists we end up subscribed to. I spent so long simply deleting them thinking that one day I would get round to reading one of the newsletters, I liked the company but didn't have time to read their email this time....this would go on for months, or even years. Every month they would take up a fraction of my time. I have now subscribed from all but about 3 newsletters that I actually enjoy reading each month. If you haven't opened a newsletter in the last 3 emails, unsubscribe (that goes for mine too!).
  6. Take real photos. I used to really enjoy taking proper pictures with an actual camera. But my phone and instagram made me lazy and the filters made me think I was a better photographer. I have started taking my camera around with me again and taking time to take a proper picture. It is still digitial but it shows how far we have come that even a digital camera seems a slower, more mindful way of doing things.
  7. Listen to real music. When I was a kid the excitement of going to a record store to pick up a recently released album was immense. You would read the sleeve back to back, and there was a definite ritual and mindfulness to putting the CD on for the very first time and sitting down/dancing around while you actually listened to the music. I miss this.  I've gotten used to the online music world of instant access to everything and the excitement and intention has gone. I am on the look out for a turntable to bring this back. While this will take up more of my time I think it is a trade I am happy to make.
  8. At least a day a week offline. When was the last time you didn't check something online? Probably when camping, or on an adventure of some kind. Now that wifi and 3G is everywhere it is hard to properly disconnect from the online world. I am trying to introduce at least a day a week where I will have no contact with the internet. I definitely use the internet less on the weekends but still have some connection to it. I am aiming to have a full break once a week. If that seems difficult because of your job, you could try an evening a week, after 5pm for example, instead.

If you want to reduce your reliance on the digital world you don't need to do all of these things at once. If you do one thing today, you will be less reliant than you were the day before and that is progress. I'll still be posting blogs and the odd instagram post but will be doing it with a lot more intention. If I have something to say I will say it, if not I will try not to waste all of our time.

If you have any other suggestions for how to disconnect please let me now in the comments or better yet tell me in the real world.



Do rich people take more than their fair share?


Do rich people take more than their fair share?

Rich people are getting some bad stick in the media at the minute. Turns out quite a few of them don't like to pay taxes. Unfortunately, I am not going to be helping their cause here. But before we get out our flaming torches and lynch the nearest rich person we may need to pause to take a quick look in the mirror. What if you and I are considered rich too?

With all these revelations of tax dodging in the papers it got me thinking about people taking more than their fair share. I was enraged to see so many people making excessive amounts of money and not giving back to the system. One thing I have learnt through Permaculture is that the key to a sustainable community is for people to only take their fair share of resources. The First Nations communities of Canada have a philosophy for this called the Seventh Generation Principle whereby any decision they make must consider the impact it will have on people in seven generations time. It's a beautifully simple way to look to the future and not just the present. It's fair to say this is not a philosophy shared by those implicated in the Panama Papers.

But tax avoidance aside, I started looking more into the principle of fair share. While it is easy to look at someone with a bigger house, larger car that burns more fuel, larger amount of waste, etc and assume they have a bigger footprint and are therefore taking more than their fair share it isn't easily quantifiable.  Perhaps the best way is to look at how much money someone has. As I thought about it further, I realised that their seems to be a direct correlation between money and the world's resources. The more money someone has the more of the world's resources they have used. Now I should make it very clear, I am not an economic expert, so someone with more knowledge on this might be able to explain that I have no clue what I am talking about. But I have thought about this a lot and I can only see this as holding true. Even if you did extremely ethical work that benefited the planet, if you charge money for your service and make lots of it, then you have very little control of how that money is generated. For you to have lots of that money, resources would need to have been used along the way. If you imagine the world's economy as one big piece of pie, having more money means you have a bigger slice.

With this in mind I set out to find out what the average slice would be. Thankfully someone else had done the math's for me here and concluded that the average salary in the world in 2012 was US$18,000/£11,291 a year. This amount takes into account exchange rates and gives an indication of how much people across the planet would have to spend if they lived and worked in the US or UK. I was shocked to realised that even though I earn a below average salary where I live in Canada, I was still taking well over my share of the world's pie. I also realised I didn't know anyone who lives off such a low salary, nearly everyone I know is also taking more than their share too.

But this isn't all doom and gloom. My aim here isn't to make us all feel guilty about having money. I certainly don't plan to ever live off such a low amount, I think it would be incredibly difficult to do. While I am willing to make sacrifices in the name of sustainability that is not one I am comfortable to accept. However, I do think it is important to realise that by living in the "developed world" we are all taking more than our fair share of the world's resources and so it is our responsibility to act on this. While it might not seem like we have a lot, the majority of us can afford to pay someone to make us a coffee each morning and on a world scale that makes us rich. So while having security for ourselves and our family is important we shouldn't simply chase more and more money because it is what society expects of us without understanding the implications.  If we wasted less money on consumerism we would reach that level of security much sooner and perhaps we could use our time to do things that aren't motivated by money and benefit both ourselves and the planet. If you take money out of the equation we are also much more likely to spend our time doing things that interest us. If everyone focused on this rather than making more money I think the world would be a much more beautiful place.

Anyway, just a thought...


Change Makers Vancouver- Our Community Bikes


As part of a new project called Change Makers I am interviewing people and organisations who are doing things a little differently and are creating positive change in the world. The aim of this is to share some inspiring projects and show that there are alternatives to using unethical corporations, connect people looking to be the change to companies that can help them achieve that goal and maybe even encourage you to start something of your own. Change Makers - Our Community Bikes

Our Community Bikes is based in Vancouver and from the outside looks like a regular bike shop. However things are done a little differently inside. In this bike shop you don't simply pay for someone to fix your bike, you fix your own bike with the guidance of trained bike mechanics. It doesn't stop there either, they offer skills training, employment therapy and bikes for people who could't afford one otherwise.

It is about education, self reliance, getting your hands dirty and as I learned after chatting with Jesse Cooper, who has been with the organisation since 2003, a whole lot more.

Tell me what Our Community Bikes is all about? 

Our Community Bikes is about education, empowerment, empathy, and accessibility. We look to give new life to the hopeless, bringing back the lost, the forgotten, and allow each person and bike to tell their stories through refurbishment, recycling, and reuse.

The new space of Our Community Bikes

How do you differ from a regular bike store?

We allow the interaction of maintenance with the customer. We are encouraging them to hang out and pick up a tool, and learn some technical skills, empower themselves. We also offer a large range of used parts that comes from donations and salvage. This offers a bit more choice in the financial realm. We also specialize in the restoration of obsolete technologies, as we have the skill and parts to refurbish bikes that no longer have after market parts available, or very few. As well, we run different types of social programming, like volunteer training, peer skills, life skills, occupation therapy and job instruction for staff, volunteers and other folks.

What was the inspiration behind starting Our Community Bikes? 

Mostly it was about accessibility. Impoverished or low income families that relied on bikes to move around the city needed a source of inexpensive service and parts. Also, the idea was to create a community hub were many folks of all walks could come together and learn from each other's life stories. Environmental, we were able to create a recycling outlet for all the bikes moving to the landfill, as well as generate revenues from the salvage!

The work stations where you can learn to fix your own bike.

What did those involved with the start up do before this? Were they very experienced in this industry?

The people who helped start up were cyclists themselves, but from different backgrounds and experiences. Only one or two had firm mechanical experience. Many of them though were active in pushing cycling as a transportation alternative. Activists if you will.

Were there any difficulties that the team faced in starting such a unique enterprise?

In the first five years, funding ran dry and the directors were almost sure that we would have to close our doors. But it turned around and through a little luck and some hard work it came back.

At the beginning the lack of experience from a financial, management, and mechanical perspective posed many challenges as well. It took some time to get some experience.

Lot of refurbished and second hand supplies to reduce financial barriers to owning your own bike

Why do you think it is important to have a space where people work on their own bikes rather than pay for someone to fix it for them?

The biggest thing we face today is a separation from out tools and our technologies. We aren't allowed the opportunity to be interactive with our material possession in such a way that we can understand it's basics. The trend of just being an operator isn't conducive to healthy learning. Offering the public a space to understand their tools and their equipment is empowerment. It foster the growth of confidence and curiosity. We needn't be a specialist to understand but only curious, which leads to many more levels of healthy learning and broadening understanding. It's a path to accepting community!

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business or non-profit that contributes to positive change?

Hold fast!!   It's really challenging as any business owner knows to start this sort of thing, but reach out to your community for help! Get many hands on board! Look for volunteers that can bring managerial experience and a dedicated team. Don't let lack of funds be the barrier, because some creative media, and thinking and fundraising can bring that in.

Our Community Bikes open for business

What are the next steps for Our Community Bikes?

We are to settle in to our new space, pay off our loan and pay back into our line credit, start some living wage policy for staff, and start a new round of strategic planning. We want to get that financial buffer back, and acknowledge the staff skill so we are able to retain the skill we help develop, and start spinning up more programming oriented towards people with barriers and other various groups in need.

We also have a fundraiser in our space (a party) on Friday the 30th of October, and that we are also looking for one time and monthly donors through our donate button from our website. It goes through Canada Helps, which automatically issues tax receipts.


What is the change you want to see in the world?

It would be great see social equity take the stage, bringing about empathy and understand, community, which would in turn trump personal gain and greed.

Thanks to Jesse and the team at Our Community Bikes www.pedalpower.org/

Give a little thought to the next time your bike needs some love and see if you could perhaps support a great organisation while learning a new set of skills in the process.

Change Makers Vancouver - The Homesteaders Emporium


As part of a new project called Change Makers I am interviewing people and organisations who are doing things a little differently and are creating positive change in the world. The aim of this is to showcase some inspiring projects, connect people looking to be the change to companies that can help them achieve that goal and maybe even encourage you to start something of your own. Change Makers - The Homesteaders Emporium

The Homesteaders Emporium is a store that I have visited a lot since I first discovered it. In their words they are 'a one-stop-shop for urban homesteading'. If you aren't familiar with homesteading, it is anything related to living a self sufficient lifestyle. Growing, preserving and making your own food, raising animals, foraging... it's a long list that comes under the homesteading umbrella. So for me The Homesteaders Emporium is like being a kid in a candy store. It is empowering to know that there is an alternative to simply relying on paying other people to make things for you and that with a little bit of patience, practice and mindfulness you can take a lot more responsibility for the things you consume.

Tell me about The Homesteaders Emporium what is it all about?

Homesteader’s Emporium is a small brick-and-mortar shop located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Our goal is to make it more accessible for folks to gain skills, tools, and materials to move toward more self-sufficient lifestyles. Living in a pretty unique period of time where it’s almost impossible to ignore how our interactions, behaviours and ways of life affect not only our own immediate environments, but the global climate as well, this shop is an effort to offer access and opportunity for urbanites to develop skills in self-sufficiency for more sustainable living practices. We sell and rent supplies, create community to learn with, and are also a bridge for folks to access mentors and teachers to learn news skills through our workshop programs.

Homesteader’s Emporium is one tiny window folks in the city can look into to find connection to the everyday basics of life - things our fast-paced city lives can miss entirely. I was listening to an elder share about his last train ride when a little boy pointed to some animals outside and said “what are those?”. His mom answered “cows.” The elder was shocked. My roommate had a similar story working with kids on a small farm called Southlands. Recently she told me of a group of kids who were super excited about helping out on the farm because it was like being in Mine Craft. They moved around the farm walking like pixelated square avatars, moving bales around and feeding the chickens in robotic motion. A part of living in the city means prioritizing efficiency and productivity, which sometimes means not being able to, or forgetting to prioritize the basics of life, such as food. What is ground beef? What is soap? Where does my fried chicken come from? WHAT?!?! A real chicken?? But they’re so cute!

Learn about bees at the Homesteaders Emporium

What was the inspiration behind starting The Homesteaders Emporium?

Our store was born of necessity. In 2012 if you lived in the Lower Mainland and wanted to get into beekeeping, cheese making, fermenting, etc, there wasn’t really an easy way for you to do that. You had to track down a club, mail order supplies you’d never seen before, fiddle around and jerry-rig your own equipment, and generally work pretty hard to be successful. We wanted to make DIY just a little bit more accessible, and our own experiences indicated the best way to do that was to make supplies and education available in a brick-and-mortar space.

What did those involved with the start-up do before this? Were they very experienced in this industry?

Our starting team was drawn together by our hobbies and passion for making from scratch, but none of us really had professional experience with running a store. We just were trying to create something we felt was really important. The owner (Rick) worked a bit at Mountain Equipment Co-op, and that really coloured the type of shopping experience and work environment we wanted to create. He also tutored kids in an after school program, and dabbled in IT consulting. The other early hires were a hair stylist, off-duty school teacher, and a young mother re-entering the workforce. We were and are a bit of a ragtag crew, but we make it work!

Owner Rick Havlak showing how to make soap

Were there any difficulties you faced in starting such a unique business?

There were and are. The biggest challenge is education - after all, we’re not really in the product business, we’re in the skill business. The products just happen to be where we get our revenue, but they aren’t what keeps us in business. That means we spend more of our time coordinating workshops, compiling resources, and writing instructions than we do selling product - even though we don’t earn money on those things!

Most stores selling specialty goods end up charging a high premium, but our whole aim is to make the activities we cater to accessible. That means we’re trying to juggle a large number of suppliers and many, many different products, without applying a higher markup than a larger chain store might. To do this, we use inventory tracking that is much more complex than the average store our size, and spend a lot of time sweet-talking suppliers to work with us on our orders.

Why should people try homesteading instead of just buying things from a store?

  1. It’s way more expensive to buy ready-made products from a store. For example, sauerkraut takes about 30mins of effort to make, but costs $5-10/litre in stores and farmer’s markets. If you made it at home it would cost you about buck or two at most and I’d bet you’d like it more!
  2. It’s gratifying to make things. People are creators. We’re agents of change. We like to move things around and transform them. Growing your own food from seed, making your own cheese, composting your own scraps then turning it into nutrient-rich soil for your garden - doing these things not only FEELS satisfying, but it creates a special connection between you and your self. Learning these skills shifts where your source of life comes from - your source of life being food, water, shelter, clothing, community, etc. It is extremely empowering to be very closely connected to your source of life. When you make something from scratch, you become attached to every aspect of the process. When you buy something, you’re only attached to the outcome. Can you imagine what kind of impact this can have in our lives?

Some of the educational books sold in the store

What tips would you offer someone looking to start being more self sufficient?

Start small or go all in. Whatever works best for you, but don’t be too attached to the outcomes of your experiments. The other day I wanted to make no-knead sourdough bread, which was a first for me. I had seen some folks do this at different stages of the Tartine-style process but I had never seen the whole process through. I also have a short attention span for multi-stepped instructions, so I skimmed the process and went for it. At the end of the day, I had messed up every possible step either in timing or in technique, but decided to bake my loaves anyway. They weren’t the perfectly chewy crusted, soft and airy loaves my partner and friends make, but they were excellent toasted with butter and I was happy to share them with my friends and family. Most importantly, I learned a bunch from the million mistakes I made (turning and shaping are different things for example!), so I am really excited to apply those lessons to my next batch! I imagine, like with most things, these projects get better with time, as long as we stay open enough to keep learning.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business that contributes to positive change?

Your greatest challenge will likely be to find a balance between pursuing your mission and making enough money to keep operating. Remember that while you may not be in business to make money, you need to make money to be in business. Watch your cash flow and keep on top of your books. Find a good bookkeeper before you do anything else. The values-based for-profit has not yet gained broad acceptance in our economy, so get ready to be pulled in both directions. Good luck!

One of many workshops taking place in the store

What are the next steps for Homesteader’s Emporium?

We’re working on providing more resources for home-learning, as a way to complement the in-store experience. For example, our rentals program is really popular, and our staff can give some advice on how to use a rented item (e.g. a honey extractor or a pasta maker). Soon though, we’ll have instructional videos to go with most of them!

What is the change you want to see in the world?

We want to live in a world where people are connected again to how things are made and where things come from. Obviously everyone can’t do everything, but we think by making it easier to engage with products by making them, we can encourage more conscientious consumer behavior. It starts with food - learn to make cheese, learn about dairy cow welfare! But it doesn’t stop there. Making soap leads to learning about all the miscellaneous additives that go into modern consumer cosmetics. Learning to repair a cell phone reminds you that fixing electronics is possible - and if enough people do it, or even if enough people hear about it, we can drive demand for easily-fixable devices that don’t wind up in landfills. It can create benefits for society AND the planet on many different levels.

Thank you so much to all the team at www.homesteadersemporium.ca keep up the good work.

The next time you are in the supermarket maybe just stop and consider how many of the products you are are about to buy could you try making yourself...