Throughout the pandemic, individuals and families have been stretched for time like never before. As our capacity to meal plan, prep and grocery shop has dwindled, and the popularity of meal delivery services has exploded. While bringing convenience to our lives, they may not always be the most sustainable - these kits often travel long distances, are filled with preservatives and include tons of non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Local entrepreneur and urban farmer, Sara Bullard developed Lady Sara’s Bounty to fill this gap, offering households throughout Guelph a prepared meal delivery service centred on menus of delicious, healthy and local food, rooted in the principles of the Circular Food Economy.
“Lady Sara’s Bounty combines my passion for urban farming with my love of making delicious, healthy food for busy people,” shares Sara. Starting her business in 2019, she has elevated the model of the traditional meal kit home delivery service, and adapted it to her unique community and values.
For years, Sara worked as a florist, and despite loving her job, the waste and environmental impact of this industry was always on her mind. In 2012, Sara began growing vegetables in her yard, and this quickly turned into a passion. “The rest fell into place after this. To be honest, my business just sort of evolved - I feel strongly about preparing what’s in season locally. I also felt there was a need for a healthy meal service in the city. And the reusable containers to me are a must, there was never an alternative.”
With Lady Sara’s Bounty, Sara prepares chef-quality meals and snacks with her own organic produce, grown in local garden plots, as much as possible, and otherwise prioritizes Ontario-grown, seasonal produce. She offers a variety of vegetarian options, and for those who eat meat, she incorporates organic chicken, eggs and broth. Every Monday, orders are delivered anywhere in Guelph-Wellington in reusable takeout containers from A Friendlier Company, that are then picked up, and brought to the University of Guelph for sanitization.
It’s a business model that customers understand and appreciate - receiving meals they love while supporting a business that’s focused on the future. “I have been so impressed with Sara’s creative flair for making healthy meals without sacrificing delicious flavour,” says customer, Sharon. “Her concern for the environment is admirable. A lot of heart and soul.”
And with Sara’s love of local, it’s no surprise that living in Guelph is central to Lady Sara’s Bounty. Beyond her focus on ingredients grown in her own backyard, Sara prepares her meals out of Nourish Kitchen, 10C Shared Space’s community commercial kitchen in the heart of downtown Guelph. And in return, the community of Guelph, with its love of food, focus on sustainability, and its network of like-minded organizations and businesses, has been the perfect setting for Lady Sara’s Bounty to grow as a business.
“I feel incredibly lucky to live and work in Guelph. From day one, I have felt an incredible amount of support,” Sara shares. “Customers continue to order and share my business with others. Local small businesses have offered advice, suggested suppliers, and have really just been great resources to bounce ideas off of. And the staff at 10C are great. They understand how tricky it can be to start a small business, and are very accommodating to my needs.”
Lady Sara’s Bounty is an example of the success and support that is accessible when building enterprise that is aligned with personal values. “Stick with what you believe in,” Sara says. “Provide a product you stand behind, and leave it to the customer to decide if they have the same beliefs.”
And with a growing base of customers, it’s clear that families across our community agree, and can taste her passion.
To learn more about Sara’s story, menu items and see pictures from the gardens of Lady Sara’s Bounty, please visit her website. To receive your own meals, order here, with menus updated every Tuesday.