Explore Local Regional Producer Profiles: Frugal Bush Bunny CSA

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Melanie & Grant Gallie run Frugal Bush Bunny Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), 5 minutes north of Warburg, Alberta. This is their first year running their 12 week community supported agriculture (CSA) and currently fill anywhere from 9-15 veggie boxes each week.

They grow an incredible variety of crops for their CSA including: 3 varieties of beans, 2 varieties of peas, 3 varieties of cucumbers, dill, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, parsley, chives, edible flowers (nasturtiums, sunflowers), kale, swiss chard, 3 varieties of winter squash, watermelon, cabbage, potatoes, onions, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, ground cherries, raspberries, rhubarb, horseradish, corn, celery root & eggplant to name a few. In addition to this they also include eggs from their laying hens in their CSA when they're available. Frugal Bush Bunny CSA currently delivers to south Edmonton, Warburg and Breton. You can learn more about the farm and their CSA on their Facebook page.

Why they started Frugal Bush Bunny CSA

Late one night in January 2016 Melanie, who grew up gardening and has always loved to grow food, wanted to see if there was any interest in a CSA in her area so she posted the idea to Facebook.

Soon after, she had people clamouring to sign up. Once they did, Melanie and Grant were committed! They rent 4-5 acres of land on a quarter section north of Warburg and had to wait until the late snows

melted in April to clear space for their veggie growing plans. By the time the snow melted, the land was tilled and the fences were put back up, it was early May and they had just begun planting their crops.

Their relationship with their customers

Although Melanie has experience growing a wide variety of veggies, she wanted her customers to be able to have a say in what they received in their CSA boxes so she took requests for crops to plant and their vegetable list grew. Despite problems with wild birds ravaging certain crops early in the season, the Frugal Bush Bunny garden is packed with a wide variety of beautiful, healthy veggies. Melanie also serves a lot of customers who might not want to commit to a CSA season, but are looking for a specific vegetable. If she is growing what they're looking for, she does fill custom orders, but if she doesn't have the crop they want, she helps direct them to a producer who is growing it.

Most customers find Frugal Bush Bunny's produce by word of mouth but Melanie's veggies do seem to be hitting a mark with some specific demographics. Some customers are seniors who have gardened in the past but aren't able to anymore. Some customers even have their own gardens but are very limited in the kinds of crops they're comfortable growing. Other customers are simply looking for fresh, local veggies. While Melanie admits that the trend towards local food may be a driving factor in customers seeking out CSA options, regardless of their motivations, once a customer goes through the CSA experience and tastes fresh, local veggies, they're hooked.

Frugal Bush Bunny CSA's role in the community

Melanie likes to encourage people to grow their own crops too. They even sell some plants (mostly tomatoes and peppers) out of their greenhouse in the spring. She believes that people should be eating food that they know where it comes from and how it was grown; whether that means buying a CSA box or learning to grow their own food, Melanie is happy to share knowledge about how to grow a variety of veggies.

The education side of the business takes many forms. Customers are sometimes curious about different varieties of veggies they've never seen before (black krim tomatoes, yellow zucchini, edible nasturtium) and Melanie helps them learn how to prep, cook and enjoy new foods. Sometimes customers are intimidated about growing plants they've never tried in their own gardens before (jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, etc) and Melanie guides them through the planting, care and harvesting of their veggies. Giving her customers confidence in their capabilities and their diet is at the heart of Frugal Bush Bunny.

Their vision for Frugal Bush Bunny CSA

Melanie & Grant hope to continue their CSA and build its membership in a sustainable way that will begin to help them offset their input costs. Growing local veggies for an affordable cost is not a high profit business. Melanie admits that if she were only doing it for money, she wouldn't be doing it at all. While they'll still sell some greenhouse plants next year, they really want to put their focus on producing vegetables. They'd love to see 30 people join their CSA next season but overall they simply want to be able to keep it affordable for people to have access to fresh veggies while at the same time being flexible to customers' needs.

“As long as there's people interested in it, we'll keep doing it.” - Melanie Gallie

Frugal Bush Bunny CSA

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    This document is maintained by Delores Serafin.
    This information published to the web on December 2, 2016.
    Last Reviewed/Revised on June 30, 2017.