100km Foods Inc. is a wholesale local food distributor in Toronto that connects local farmers with urban markets. With our help, farmers gain access to large, urban markets and customers gain access to delicious, farm-fresh food at local restaurants, hotels, and retailers. It's a win for all involved.
We deal fairly with farmers, allowing them to set their own prices, and we seek to treat all our employees, suppliers, clients, and community with a high standard of fairness and cooperation. Together with our chef and farm partners, we are helping to create a strong and viable local food economy in Ontario!
Products are harvested to order and picked up direct from farmers by our team daily, and it is often less than 24 hours since the food was picked until it's at your door! We source identify every item by farm and are committed to building a robust, transparent, and sustainable local food system. 100km Foods strives to foster a genuine connection between you and the farmers and producers who grow your food.
100km Foods was founded in 2008, after Grace Mandarano and Paul Sawtell left their corporate jobs and backpacked around Asia. Upon their return to Canada, they knew that they wanted to use their business savvy and sales experience as a force for social good.
They wanted to start a business that specifically focused on the environment and sustainability. After speaking with farmers and chefs, it became clear: both farmers and Chefs wanted to connect, but cultivating that relationship directly presented major logistical challenges for both. Most farmers, and most Chefs, simply don't have the time to drive around ferrying smaller amounts of produce back and forth. Farmers need to be in the fields farming, and Chefs need to be in the kitchen cooking. Someone else would have to step in to bridge these two worlds: a distributor whose goal was developing a local, regional wholesale restaurant food supply network for Southern Ontario.
Paul and Grace both had an 'aha!' moment when they realized this fundamental barrier in local food. One of them scribbled down "100km Foods?" hurriedly on a napkin, and 100km Foods was born!
That was over twelve years ago. Since then, 100km Foods has grown to include a network of over 100 small and medium sized Ontario farms, mostly in Southern Ontario, and distributes to over 650 food businesses in Toronto, the GTA, Golden Horseshoe and the Kitchener/Cambridge/Waterloo regions, with over 1000 local products available year-round.
At 100km Foods, we are lucky enough to partner with some amazingly innovative and proactive farmers, who recognize the climate crisis and the role agriculture has in it. Indeed, farmers and agricultural workers are already on the front lines of climate change. They are intimately aware of the markers we already measure: worsening rates of soil erosion, droughts, high temperatures and crop failures. These farmers are already working to transform their practices and their lands in order to mitigate (or even, reverse) some of the effects of climate change. The term for these agricultural practices is regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture takes sustainable practices one step beyond reducing CO2 emissions to examining net carbon output. Farmers who integrate a series of organic farming principals that embody a holistic systems approach on their land can not only reduce their emissions, but sequester carbon within their soil, and allow their lands to act as a carbon sink. Carbon sinks (the Earth's oceans and old growth forests) are crucial in regulating global temperatures and maintaining the health of our atmosphere, but right now, they are disappearing at an alarming rate.
The potential regenerative agriculture holds to mitigate the effects of climate change is profound: Simply put, recent data from farming systems and pasture trials around the globe show that we could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term 'regenerative organic agriculture.' These practices work to maximize carbon fixation while minimizing the loss of that carbon once returned to the soil, reversing the greenhouse effect.
Some of the positive outcomes of regenerative agriculture thus far include increased soil carbon stocks, decreased GHG emissions, improved water retention and plant uptake and revitalized farming communities.
The New Farm is leading the charge on transforming the way agriculture is done in Ontario. This year marks the first year they have transitioned their farm management and methods to being 100% regenerative. They have already observed enormous successes, and are looking to help educate and support other farmers to begin the process of farming regeneratively.
This is the kind of food system 100km Foods is proud to take part in building, together, with farmers and chefs across Ontario.