KW Habilitation is a local not-for-profit organization located in Kitchener-Waterloo that provides a wide range of individualized services for children with special needs and adults with developmental disabilities. In 2011, the organization was approached to start farming an 8-acre property into a productive, organic farm. Their mission is to connect land, food, and people through sustainable agriculture.
To service their community and members, their organic produce is supplied to 25 different inclusive accommodations for meal planning. All the products are free and help the accommodations save money on weekly grocery bills, and allows their residents explore different types of produce. Since starting, Our Farm has saved inclusive accommodations in the region $30 000 on produce! Additionally, any extra produce is sold at a weekly community market, and all funds made go back to supporting the program.
Finding a System that Works
To track orders and service accommodations, Our Farm was using a homemade online system. Their customers were able to log what they needed; however, the system was unable to track and communicate inventory in real-time. When customers would order later in the week, the product could already be out of stock, but wasn’t updated on the ordering system.
“We did not have a live feed of the updated inventories. When orders would be made throughout the week, the later some customers ordered, the more likely would be left without anything!” explains Jenny, the Our Farm coordinator.
Additionally, the previous system required a lot of data collection and entry. Jenny would have to manually count, cost out, and input each individual order weekly. She would then have to harvest accordingly and distribute them respectively. Every week she found herself spending hours doing so, and the more they grew, the more challenging this would become. There was no way to record and track orders automatically.
The Perfect Match
When attending the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention in Niagara this past winter, Jenny met Local Line:
“I loved that Local Line spent the time to sit down with me and listen to my needs. At these conferences, often businesses try to focus on the bigger farms. As a small not-for-profit, it was great that I could communicate what I wanted, find something that worked perfectly for us, and that at the end of the day, we could afford it!”
After switching to the system, Jenny has drastically reduced her data entry. The inventory feature automatically reduces after orders are made, and communicates this to their customers in real-time. No more order errors or leaving customers without product moving forward!
“The analytics and reporting tools are awesome! I can easily have an overview of our orders without having to do any data entry myself. The biggest benefit I’ve had since using Local Line is how much time it saves me!”
Local Line Goes Farming
Luckily, in July, our team had the opportunity to visit Our Farm at KW Habilitation and check out all the great work they’re doing. Our morning was spent moving water tanks, weeding, mulching, and harvesting for the market. We really proved that many hands make light work!
We are very excited to help support a great cause and help Jenny, and Our Farm efficiently service their community in the future!
Nina Galle is the Content Creator at Local Line. She writes everything from blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for farmers, food hubs and markets.