In the past couple of years, we've been looking into ways to eat more sustainably - that means buying locally or at least buying organic.
We usually buy 10kg (22lb) bags of flour at the grocery store for something like $12-14 a bag. It's neither local or organic. It pisses me off. So I looked into a couple of things. Safeway sells 1.8kg bags of organic, whole wheat flour from SunnyBoy, which is a mill located in Camrose - about a half hour drive from our house. The small bags that Safeway sells cost about $7 and are plastic (!). So expensive and not good packaging as far as I'm concerned.
So I e-mailed the SunnyBoy mill and asked if I could buy the organic flour in something other than plastic. Sure enough, if you make arrangements, you can buy at 20kg bag from the mill and it comes in paper.
The cost is $32 - making it slightly more expensive than the non-organic variety, but less than half the cost of buying it in the small plastic bags. For a few dollars more, I'll go with organic AND local. A winner all round.
Okay, so driving 100km round-trip to pick up a bag of flour doesn't seem so great, but I also went and picked up other organic stuff we can't get here (like cheese) and had a nice trip with my son, so it was win-win.
We also buy almost all of our meat from the Hutterite colony located just southeast of here. It is good, they don't use nitrates, and their animals are treated well. You'll never find better tasting bacon or ham. And their chickens are the size of small turkeys.
Anyone who lives in the area and would like the phone numbers or directions to either place, I'll happily pass them along.