Member Feature: Q&A with Chris Hildreth of TOPSOIL
Modo Business member Chris Hildreth is the owner/operator of TOPSOIL, an urban farm operating in downtown Victoria. He is pioneering the urban agriculture industry in the city and trying to help create a healthier and sustainable food system. TOPSOIL is a zero emissions company and uses the Dockside Green Kia Soul for all deliveries to local restaurants.
What is TOPSOIL– who do you work with, what’s the goal?
Chris: TOPSOIL is an urban agriculture business which utilizes unused space by implementing productive gardens. All the produce is then sold directly to the surrounding restaurants and community. Our goal is to take a systematic approach to food production. We want to produce large volumes of fresh local produce, with minimal CO2 emissions, zero synthetic inputs, minimal one-time-use plastic packaging, all while operating in full transparency. We supply 18 restaurants and have an on-site market which is open on weekdays for the public.
How do you operate a “zero-emissions” business successfully?
Many of the restaurants we supply are within walking distance of the farm. In fact in our first year of operation we literally walked everything to the restaurants. In our second year we got an electric bike and now we are using the Modo’s electric Kia Soul at Dockside Green for most of our deliveries. Most of the produce we consume here on Vancouver island is traveling 1000’s of kilometeres with tons of CO2 emissions and can take many days or weeks before it reaches our plates. TOPSOIL can get it to all our restaurants within minutes and by using the Kia Soul EV can essentially have zero emissions associated with our transportation.
How do you use Modo for Business?
We use Modo twice a week for our deliveries. Modo helps us to keep our core principles in tact by allowing us to delivery our product in an electric vehicle.
Victoria members interested in buying your produce, where can they find TOPSOIL veggies?
Any one who would like to buy our produce can go and support any of our amazing restaurant partners or come down to our on-site market located at 395 Harbour Road (just off the Galloping Goose Trail), open Monday to Friday 12-6pm until October 1st.