Collective Joy Farm

This interview details Collective Joy Farm, an indoor farming company based in Canada. The interview is with Tammara Maher, Founder of Collective Joy Farm.

Source: Collective Joy Farm

What is the origin story of Collective Joy Farm? 

Collective Joy Farm has always been a story of hope, love, and determination. Having struggled with Bipolar I, a major mental illness most of her life, Tammara gradually discovered that her overall health could be dramatically improved with a whole foods-based diet including lots of fresh, nutrient-rich greens.


She started growing microgreens in her tiny urban kitchen in Kingston, Ontario in 2010 when her son was a baby and in 2014 founded her rural-based farm as a solo parent northeast of the city. She quickly found a way to make growing microgreens as well as seasonal herbs and edible flowers the foundation of a strong rural farm business. Part of this success was offering a whole food, plant-based product line featuring her produce that sold well alongside fresh produce.

Source: Collective Joy Farm


During the COVID-19 crisis, it became evident that getting more fresh food closer to eaters in cities was critical as supply chain disruptions increased awareness about the importance of locally-produced food. Tammara decided to focus on the efficient and proven indoor vertical farming she had become adept at and transitioned into an urban farm business model. She opened Collective Joy Farm in Kingston, Ontario in March 2023 and now provides fresh greens in a neighborhood-based farm model right in the heart of the city - growing, making, and selling everything right from one central location.


The farm is open to the public and much closer to eaters, restaurants, farmers markets, and community organizations for business, education, and collaboration. The location of the farm reduces the carbon footprint of the business immensely and allows for customers to access the freshest greens and healthy whole food products like fresh juices, smoothies, meal bowls, and more directly and easily. The Kingston location also reduces packaging waste as customers can bring their own or reuse containers and we offer a bottle return program. The community reception for the city farm model has been tremendous and Tammara now hopes to bring in collaborators to help expand the business and open more locations in larger urban centers.

Source: Collective Joy Farm

 

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Collective Joy Farm in the future?

Collective Joy Farm is a proven successful small farm business model and at this point, we are hard at work developing systems and training software to make it easier for those interested in starting their own urban farms to do so. Finding people interested in joining our project with the skills and capacity to make an important contribution continues to be a challenge as well.

Source: Collective Joy Farm

What is unique about Collective Joy Farm compared to competitors? 

Collective Joy Farm offers fresh produce grown right in the heart of the city and a line of grab-and-go healthy options of very high quality all in a retail shop-type format. This is unique in the world, as far as we know. All of our production is done on-site so customers can see what is happening and are routinely delighted and amazed at how much fresh food can be grown right in their neighborhood. We envision a future where there are many locations such as ours in many cities throughout the world - as we need many solutions to bring more fresh food into cities and we have created one that is proven and economically viable on a small scale. We do not seek to scale into a major factory supplying grocery chains but rather to empower others with a farm dream to open similar small-scale vertical farms to feed their immediate communities and provide a livelihood for themselves. 

Source: Collective Joy Farm

What are some other relevant metrics of the company (growing area size, production quantity, team size, etc.)?

We currently operate out of a space converted for use that is about 1200sq ft. Our small but mighty team is currently 3 people.

Source: Collective Joy Farm

How can people connect with you or learn more about Collective Joy? 

Email: contact@collectivejoyfarm.com

Instagram and FB @collectivejoyfarm

Website: www.collectivejoyfarm.com

Source: Collective Joy Farm

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