You stare longingly into the empty abyss that is your refrigerator. To your surprise, no food has magically appeared since the last time you checked, which was five minutes ago. Begrudgingly, you start to face the fact that a trip to the grocery store is inevitable.

The thought of trekking out into the cold, fighting the line-ups at Metro, and paying an arm and a leg for overpriced produce sounds more unappealing than your last post-Homecoming hangover.

“There’s got to be a better way," you say to yourself. Three Queen’s students all thought exactly the same thing, and they've decided to do something about it.

Meet Graham, Jason, and Nick: the founders of Rooted Foods Co. The idea for this student-operated food delivery service was born in the summer of 2015, after winning a Social Innovation business start-up competition.

The idea behind Rooted Foods is simple: give students an easy and affordable way to purchase locally-sourced food. After seeing the lack of sustainable options available to students, the founders formed Rooted and began operations in January 2016.

Here’s how it works: Rooted acts as a bridge between the local farming scene and Queen’s students. Their food is sourced from Wendy’s Country Market, a family-run business that gets produce, meat and dairy products from local producers in the Kingston area.

Students place their orders on Sunday night through Rooted’s website and (free!) delivery occurs Friday afternoon. Instead of having to make the trek to individual farms or local distributors, students can have healthy and locally-sourced food delivered right to their door.

Hannah Latour

Intrigued by the idea of not having to leave my apartment to eat sustainably, I decided to give it a try. For under $25, I got enough produce to last the school week and meat for several dinners.

While I ordered things individually, Rooted also sells various “bundles” — like salad ingredients or breakfast items — which makes ordering super easy.
Hannah Latour

My first Rooted dinner worked out to be about $5.85 — definitely cheaper than take-out and certainly comparable to the cost of buying the same ingredients at Metro. The quality and taste of the food were also great and way more flavourful than produce from the grocery store.

The best part? Everything on my plate came from within a 100-mile radius of Kingston.
Hannah Latour

In addition to tasting great, eating local has many benefits. From a health perspective, produce is allowed to ripen for a longer period of time (as it doesn’t have to travel a long distance) which can increase its vitamin and mineral content. It’s also environmentally friendly, as transportation distances are vastly reduced. Eating local is also a great way to support small, family-run farms and the local economy.

Hannah Latour

Of course, there are certain things that Rooted just can’t source. Mangos and bananas aren’t going to grow in Southeastern Ontario. There are also other staples (i.e. Sriracha sauce) that I'll have to keep getting elsewhere.

Still, Rooted is a great way to get your essential food items and reduce your number of trips to the grocery store. You’re also supporting a student-run business dedicated to making eating local accessible to other students.

Rooted even got me thinking about what a local diet looks like (i.e. no strawberries in December) and has inspired me to be more mindful about where my food is coming from.

So what are you waiting for? Get Rooted.