By Jensen, Randy on May 29, 2020.
Learning from the previous downturn that hurt the energy sector a few years ago, a local couple has taken their COVID-19 layoff from their industry as an opportunity to start a passion business for a more sustainable future.
Tony Fritz and his wife Cami Tanner decided that besides waiting for the return of the energy sector to rebuild, they would take their passion for growing food and create Urban Micros Canada Ltd., a local microgreen grower.
“One of the reasons that we started this was because of COVID,” says Fritz. “I was working in the energy sector up north on and off for the last eight years and, of course, we were displaced from that and we started to look at other sources of income. If we go back to the energy sector, is it going to recover? It is hard to say how long it will take to recover this time so we decided to do something more sustainable, and we have always been into planting, we have a huge garden on the side of our house that produces so much food, we thought this way we could produce microgreens as well and help feed the public healthy greens, and help us keep going at the same time.”
With a passion for food production, the couple created Urban Micros to help supply the community with fresh, locally grown microgreens, while supporting green living through their products, even their packaging.
“We are a sustainable microgreen grower here in Lethbridge, so we grow a variety of microgreens, anything from pea shoots, sunflowers, radishes, sweet grass, stuff like that. We have about 15 to 20 items that we are producing,” says Fritz. “We like to support plant-based items, so all of our deli containers, for example, are all fully made of plant-based plastic, so we are taking the steps to make sure we aren’t harming the environment by pumping more single-use plastics into it. And we only use fully organic seeds and other products, so there isn’t any GMOs or chemicals used in our products.”
Fritz says they intended to be in the Lethbridge Farmers’ Market for the entire season, but were delayed because of the pandemic. As they work to build a booth for future markets, they are happy to see the positive response from customers.
“We will be looking to go to the Farmers’ Market, they are just starting to open up, but we are still working with them to figure out how to operate during the COVID pandemic,” says Fritz. “The community has been incredibly supportive, especially the people that we have met so far. They found our products on social media and have been extremely supportive and positive about this, and we are getting a lot of responses from people that they love the products.”
Urban Micros Canada is working to bring their organic microgreens to markets throughout the city at the weekly Farmers’ Market in about a month, as well as the London Road Market in the near future.
For now, Urban Micros is doing curbside home delivery throughout the city. More information on their services and products can be found online at urbanmicros.ca, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.
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