Pathway 5 in Profile: Strong Local Economy

The Pathways to the Future in the Cochrane Sustainability Plan represent an integrated approach to achieving sustainability in Cochrane.  Each of the 13 Pathways focuses on a different issue within our community, and includes goals that will make Cochrane truly sustainable.  By working together, we can all help achieve the goals of the Pathways.

That’s where you come in.  In the decisions you make every day, whether at home or at work, you can opt for the sustainable choice.

Pathway 5:  We Consume The Bounty of Our Local Economy

The fifth Pathway in the Cochrane Sustainability Plan is focused on being as self-sustaining as possible within our community.  It’s about consuming the resources and items that are produced locally.  An example of this idea can be found in the principles of the 100-mile diet movement.

One easy way to consume local bounty is by visiting the Cochrane Farmers’ Market.  The Market is run and sponsored by the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee (CEAC), and all proceeds from the market go to support CEAC in its efforts to make Cochrane a more environmentally aware and active community.

Keeping with a sustainability focus, the Market features Alberta-based “make it, bake it or grow it” from an average of 40 vendors each week.  In total, more than 70 different vendors call the Market home throughout the season.

The Cochrane Farmers’ Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday, rain or shine, from the beginning of June until the end of September.  It is held in the parking lot of the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site, located north of Highway 1A just west of downtown.   Click here for a map to the Market.

In addition to the Farmers Market, there are several Cochrane-area businesses that make it easy to consume our local bounty, including:

  • Meg & Mom Fudge

Meg & Mom Fudge is a locally based and owned organization dedicated to providing delicious homemade fudge on order. Their fudge is made with all natural ingredients and comes in 36 different flavors. They also offer a generous fundraising program that allows organizations to retain 50 per cent of the profits from their sales.

Upper Hut is a custom homebuilding and renovating company providing services in Calgary and the surrounding area.   Showing their commitment to the future of our community, Upper Hut is a Champion of Sustainability.

LJ Ranch is a family-owned cattle ranch located near Cochrane. Their goal is to provide locally raised natural beef to their customers by feeding their cattle natural foods that do not rely on growth hormones or other additives.

Located at 119 1 Ave. West, TEA…and other things is a perfect spot to pick up tea as well as other products such as teapots from around the world. They offer a wide range of teas from organic blends to black teas as well as 350 specialty loose teas from all major tea producing nations.   All their tea is Fair Trade, contributing to better trading conditions in the countries where the tea is grown.


This locally based market, found on 208 3 Avenue West, offers fresh and organic goods from produce to dairy items. They also offer the choice of ordering online which provides additional convenience for busy lives.

Earlier this year, the Twisted Bagel was one of the six local groups to receive a sustainability funding grant through SPUR – you can read more here.  This funding has allowed them to recruit additional staff, and expand their presence in the community.

Pat’s Palate Pleasers is a catering company located in Cochrane.  With a menu that includes a range of local and organic choices, these Champions of Sustainability offer services that support local food producers while contributing to a sustainable future for the community.

In the process of creating the Cochrane Sustainability Plan, some Cochrane residents expressed the desire for greater selection in terms of retail services within the community.  As the number of businesses in Cochrane continues to grow, selection will become more diverse.  Purchasing from local retailers has a positive impact on the supply/demand process, and can contribute to greater diversity.

As outlined in the Cochrane Sustainability Plan, the goals for Pathway 5 are:

  • By 2029, increase local food consumption by 50%
  • By 2029, increase consumption of local goods & services by 50%

The benefits of buying locally grown food and locally produced merchandise are many – from decreased greenhouse gas emissions because of reduced transportation distances to the opportunity to see where and how your food is produced.

To learn more about Pathway 5, you can download a copy of the Cochrane Sustainability Plan.