Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network / Réseau agroalimentaire de l'Est ontarien

Full Bellies

Full Bellies Seeks Local Farmers and Producers

What is Full Bellies?

Full Bellies, located in Vankleek Hill, is a consumer purchasing club whereby volunteer leaders and helpers source foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, from local growers, local producers and wholesale suppliers at wholesale prices to provide club members with fresh nutritious foods at very affordable prices.

Full Bellies is different from the item shopping at a grocery store. The vision is community engagement and more affordable and nutritious food.  The business model is a membership group, a subscription box program, and low distribution costs with volunteer labour and simple logistics.

Full Bellies is committed to buying from local growers and food producers as a priority, and then using wholesale suppliers to fill the gaps. Full Bellies is looking for competitive wholesale prices with some allowance for premium prices for local products.

You can follow the story of Full Bellies on Facebook.

How does Full Bellies work?

This is a food box service where items are ordered in bulk and then sorted and shared amongst member families once a week. Each weekly box contains about enough food for each member of the family to have 1 fruit every day, a pile of veggies to cook with or make salads with, 1 loaf of bread or grain item, breakfast food, and snacks for the week. The contents vary from week to week depending on product availability and wholesale prices but members will be able to count on a diversified diet.

A box is defined as a bushel, a typical crate of produce supplied by wholesalers. The box is by volume, not by weight. While suppliers usually supply a unique product in a box, Full Bellies will sort the boxes and re-pack mixed boxes for the members.

Full Bellies does not care a lot about product planning and consistent delivery of a defined list of products. Products and boxes are offered to members based on what is available, what is in season, and what the target costs are.

Full Bellies accepts imperfect products and dirty produce fresh out of the garden as long as they are presentable, nutritious and safe to eat. Farmers need not wash or clean their produce.

The preferred packaging is loose bulk crates. Full Bellies will accept packaged goods if they are cheaper or the product needs protection. For example, the microgreens and eggs are packaged to protect them, but carrots and onions are loose.

If the farm prices are comparable to wholesale prices, then Full Bellies will give purchasing priority to farmers, and use wholesalers to complete the required volume for the week. The average target cost is $20 per bushel for general items and Full Bellies prepares mixed boxes for its members. Full Bellies also purchases premium priced items such as frozen meat and offers those to members as optional additions to their weekly purchase.

Do you want to sell to Full Bellies?

Full Bellies can purchase locally in a blend of these methods.

  • Full Bellies is interested in forward contracts with farmers and producers to produce enough for foreseeable purchases during the coming year. Full Bellies will commit to purchasing from the vendors in accordance with the contracts, and (in the case of outdoor crops) will accept as little or as much that they produce within the forecasted volume, and then use the wholesalers and spot purchases as the backup.
  • Full Bellies will create a web landing page where farmers can post availabilities for spot sales through the season.
  • Volunteers at Full Bellies may tour farmers’ markets to purchase market leftovers at wholesale prices, subject to the storage potential of the products for a few days.

To offer products and start a conversation with Full Bellies, please complete this inquiry form. Full Bellies will contact you shortly to continue the conversation.