Inspiring Atlantic Canada's Change to Sustainable Nutrition

HARVEST

3. Good Health and Well-Being 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Harvest is a new franchise of eateries currently located in the municipality of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their business model revolves around sustainable and locally sourced ingredients that they use to create top-quality menu items. The co-founders of Harvest realized there was a lack of sustainably sourced business models in the service industry, and took it into their own hands to start growing their own crops out of hydroponic farms for their farm-to-table eatery. Harvest works to solve the SDGs of good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production, and climate action while working to inspire the rest of Atlantic Canada to do so as well.

Authors

Madeline Cormier

Madeline Cormier

Majd Ibrahim

Majd Ibrahim

Mohamed alaa

Mohamed alaa

School

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University

Professors

Kent Williams

Kent Williams

Kate Yau

Kate Yau

Innovation

Harvest’s innovation revolves around their business model of a farm-to-table eatery. Connor Stoilov and Brad Inglis are the co-founders of Harvest, and they created their company in 2020 based on the need for sustainable business models in the service industry. In the interview, Stoilov stated that “the supply chain system in Canada is extremely complicated and lacks efficiency”, so they took a chance on their home province of Nova Scotia and started the change to a more efficient and sustainable future for food consumption.

The farm-to-table business model involves their own locally harvested items that go straight into their eateries. They are able to harvest these items year-round with their highly engineered portable production facility known as a hydroponic farm. Their hydroponic farm is a 320 square foot vertical container that allows for crops to grow in nutrient-rich water rather than soil. Harvest explains that with fewer resources being used in this farming approach, it is much more sustainable than traditional agricultural practices. They use 90% less water than traditional farming with their current setup where they are also able to cultivate up to 2 acres of farmland.

Harvest’s business model helps to solve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of good health and well-being, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. Their work with responsible consumption and production and climate action can be seen in their innovative work with the farm-to-table eatery. The way they produce their food also directly correlates with the SDG of good health and well-being since they only serve healthy top-quality menu items including salads, power bowls, smoothies, and sandwiches. Harvest now has two eatery locations in the municipality of Halifax, and one on the way in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, since becoming a franchise in 2020. They are looking to expand their brand and farming techniques across Atlantic Canada to inspire other cities and provinces to innovate with sustainable practices for food production and consumption.

Inspiring Atlantic Canada's Change to Sustainable Nutrition

Inspiration

Every entrepreneur in the world has one main goal, and that is to make a better future for themselves. When it comes to the owners of Harvest, they are young entrepreneurs that wanted more for themselves, but who also wanted more for the world. With their knowledge and passion for sustainable farming practices, they knew that they would be able to create a business in the service industry that used their crops to create an eatery that was also sustainable and ecologically friendly. Stoilov stated in the interview that, “...we saw an opportunity in Nova Scotia, our home province, and took a chance.” The hydroponic farm played a big role when it came to inspiring this eatery because they wanted to show the public environmentally friendly ways that food can be sourced. They have been able to feed delicious and nutritious meals to the people of Nova Scotia while spreading the word about sustainable service industry business models. Harvest wants to take its business model and grow it out of the province. They continue to find inspiration in everything they do, and they ideally want to expand their vertical farming production system beyond a 320 square foot barrier to be able to serve their customers items that are always 100% locally and sustainably harvested.

Overall impact

The Harvest franchise has many popular items. Co-owner and CEO Connor Stoilov says that the Mexican Black Bean power bowl has been one of the best-selling items on their menu. This is a bowl with rice, black beans, roasted sweet potato, corn, peppers, cheddar cheese, avocado, cilantro, jalapeño pepper, tortilla strips, lime, and chipotle crema. This loaded power bowl can be washed down with another one of their common items, the Tropical Turmeric smoothie, filled with fresh fruits, and with an option of adding your choice of protein powder. Their passion for maintaining healthy locally harvest items, coastal farmed produce, and locally sourced farm-to-table food is unmatched in the community of Halifax. This commitment helps make the items on their menu so popular.

Stoilov says that they designed a business model that, “allows for an environmentally focused supply chain to sustainably support itself in commerce and cause no harmful by-products to our environment”. They are very impactful when it comes to maintaining the health of Halifax’s environment while using locally sourced food as well. Harvest uses sustainably sourced coffee beans that begin with local growers dedicated to supporting their farm-to-table lifestyle. In 2020, they provided fresh produce 12-months a year, following the true farm-to-table model. They achieved so much in less than a year and now have the opportunity to expand their vision across Atlantic Canada.

The more they expand, the more they will be able to support local farms all across Atlantic Canada and provide them with tons of opportunities. The innovation of the farm-to-table approach is the future of sustainable eating. The level of success they have reached is changing the restaurant industry and their authenticity is being proven with their ability to expand to more locations. If they maintain this level of success and authenticity they will lead this change of truly sustainable eating.

Business benefit

The owners of the Harvest are so motivated in spreading their business across Atlantic Canada because of how the people responded when they first opened in 2020. They became open to the idea of franchising their business because they realized that expanding meant that they would spread the word on their sustainable business model. Now they are opening their third eatery across the province of Nova Scotia after only one year of operations. This business has endless potential for success since they are one of the first companies to have a sustainable model in the service industry in Nova Scotia. Since they also know that the supply chain system in Canada is extremely complicated and lacks efficiency, by producing their own products, they are able to rely less on imported goods which not only benefit the environment but saves on costs and improve nutrient density. The most important benefit of eating at this business is how it benefits the customers' nutrition. Since customers are eating locally sourced food they are consuming the best produce at the peak of its season. Instead of trucks driving for thousands of kilometers to supply produce, all Harvest produce comes from a short distance which means it maintains top quality.

Harvest does delivery through their own system, but they also work with SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats to deliver their meals more efficiently to customers across Halifax. In the interview, Stoilov said that approximately half of their orders are placed through these third parties. He said that this is good as they are able to share their menu with many more people, but unfortunately, a high commission is paid on Harvest’s side. Harvest said that in order to benefit their business the most, their end goal is to deliver 100% of their orders through their personal system to be able to learn more and have greater control over their customer’s experiences.

Social and environmental benefit

Harvest is already impacting the sustainable food scene in Halifax. As they entered this untapped market, they are now seeing competitors attempting to build a sustainable business model similar to their own. Stoilov said that they actually encourage other businesses to follow in their footsteps and build a similar sustainable business model as we all continue to work towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of climate action. The co-owners of Harvest knew that their brand was scalable, and they stand by the fact that it is important to push sustainable business models into the service industry. This will not only have a positive impact on the current food production problem in Nova Scotia, but also a positive impact on the environmental footprint that they are leaving behind in regards to the SDG of responsible production and consumption. In 2020 their “Giving Back 12-Months a Year” initiative was also a big success in Nova Scotia. They provided free meals for those in need across Nova Scotia. They continue to work side by side with various organizations like Feed Nova Scotia and their own charity home delivery network. This fits perfectly into helping solve the SDG of good health and well-being. Bringing awareness to sustainable eating is a key benefit to letting the people of Nova Scotia know that these types of healthy and sustainable options are still incredibly delicious.

Interview

Connor Stoilov, Co-Founder & CEO

Photo of interviewee

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HARVEST

HARVEST

Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA

Business Website: https://www.orderharvest.ca/

Year Founded: 2020

Number of Employees: 51 to 200

Harvest is a sustainably sourced eatery in Nova Scotia, Canada, that brings high-end restaurant quality food to the people in a fast-casual environment. They source their ingredients locally and even grow their own crops out of a highly engineered portable production facility known as a hydroponic farm. They offer a premium experience of farm-to-table food and focus on creating a strong recognizable brand that is Harvest. They became a franchise in 2020, and now have two eatery locations in the municipality of Halifax that serve only the best top-quality menu items including salads, power bowls, smoothies, and sandwiches. They are looking to expand their brand across Atlantic Canada due to the need for sustainably sourced business models in our world.