Located just outside Sudbury in Northern Ontario, Click Fork, an innovative new food hub, is serving their community with fresh, local food in a place where it can be difficult to access. Click Fork is composed of three farms: Dalew Farms, Field Good Farms and Kipling Ridge Farms. They sell a variety of products, including beef, poultry, produce, and grains.
One door closes…
The farmers first met each other more than 10 years ago when they were supplying a local retail store, Eat Local Sudbury. The store provided a sales channel for nearby farmers to sell their products. The store was crucially important for the Sudbury community as it provided a central access point for fresh, local food. In Northern Ontario, access to local food is not always easy, since the farmland and urban areas are so spread out, making logistics expensive.
Unfortunately, in March 2018,Eat Local Sudbury closed its doors. With the loss of an important sales channel, the farmers began looking for a new alternative that would allow them to sell their complimentary products to a wide audience, in a way that worked for their individual businesses.
Another door opens
After several meetings, Chantal from Dalew Farms suggested providing their customers with an online platform after having success with her own Local Line store for her individual customers. She wanted a one-stop shop where everyone’s customers would be able to shop and order their favourite products direct from the farmers—online!
After connecting with Local Line founder, Cole, and discussing options, this became a reality. Click Fork, the online food hub, was born!
"Check us out online!"
Since launching their online store, Click Fork has been a growing success. The online store allows customers to browse through products, sort by product type and by farmers, and then order from whoever they want! Additionally, the platform allows the hub to track all incoming orders, send invoices, generate pick-lists, and plan weekly distribution! Customer newsletters and pick up scheduling have all become automatic, which collectively saves the farmers hours of work each week.
“The logistics of a food hub are tricky! Everyone plays a different role in the operation of Click Fork. We all have our strengths, so it’s really great that the online platform gives everyone access to the tools they need to carry out their roles.”
Since Click Fork launched in July 2018, the online hub has accomplished its goal of providing a new sales channel to the farmers (they have over 250 customers!), and increasing access to local food for Sudbury residents. The farms are no longer limited by the number of customers that would physically shop at the Eat Local Sudbury store, and have been able to reach new audiences.
After a successful first year, the goal for Click Fork’s future is to increase available inventory and continue to grow their customer base. They also hope to increase the variety of products to service a larger diversity of shoppers.
“People say farmers are behind, but that’s not true. We’re right there with them: online!” – Chantal, Dalew Farms
We are so happy we were able to host the first online food hub in the area and play a role increasing access to local food in the Northern Ontario region.