Interview and Photo by Jason Setnyk
Long Sault, Ontario – The journey for Jaime MacRae and her husband Matt Lalonde starting Cornerstone Organics commenced in 2012. It all started when their son was diagnosed with a rare syndrome. They began sourcing healthy foods and quickly realized a demand for locally grown organic food.
Cornerstone Organics has undergone many changes and expansions over the years, most recently starting an aquaponics business, allowing them to produce year-round. They have become champions of locally grown organic food, and the family-run business is visible at many local farmer’s market events.
Five Questions with The Seeker
1 – Can you tell us more about the process of sourcing local, healthy foods and why it’s important to your business?
“Sourcing local doesn’t have to be hard. Luckily Cornwall and SDG have some amazing farms and agribusinesses. I think the best and most fun way is to go to the local farmer’s markets. You can see what our area has to offer and get to know your farmers and where the food comes from. It is important to our business because although social media plays a big role in our connection to customers, meeting people in person and showing our passion for what we do builds real relationships with our customers.”
2 – How has the demand for locally-grown, organic food changed in your area over the years, and how has your business adapted to those changes?
“Locally grown food has exploded in the last few years, which is awesome! People are realizing the importance of knowing where their food comes from and supporting local. Why outsource something you can get in your community? In response, we have expanded our gardens and started an aquaponics business to grow year-round. We also offer a weekly veggie program to make it easy for people to access our food. For convenience, we also offer prepared foods that can be pre-ordered or purchased at the farmer’s markets.”
3 – Can you tell us more about your products, such as your herbal teas and garlic?
“The base of our farm is vegetables and our weekly veggie program, but we also sell certified organic greens year-round, herbal teas that we grow on the farm, seedlings in the spring, not to mention our prepared foods!”
4 – Can you tell us more about the workshops and events held on your farm, and how they tie into your overall mission?
“Workshops are close to my heart because it’s a big part of how I’ve learned about agriculture and homesteading. It is also a great way to connect with our community. We offer group meditation, yoga, homesteading workshops, gardening workshops, and so much more. We love our community and are proud to be a part of it this way.”
5 – How do you see the future of sustainable agriculture, and how is Cornerstone Organics contributing to that future?
“Sustainable agriculture’s future will depend on community support and our local farmer’s dedication. At the farm, we have started an aquaponics operation. We are the first certified organic aquaponic vegetable products in Ontario and are currently the only certified organic aquaponic vegetable producer in Canada (certified by ProCert). This system allows us to supply our community with Local Certified Organic vegetable year-round. Our seeds and food are locally sourced. All of our fish are bred directly on our farm.”
Follow Cornerstone Organics on Facebook.