Ending the year in a place of deep gratitude

By Cher Mereweather

A festive message from Cher @ Provision

I’ve woken up in the middle of the night several times this year, wondering if Provision was going to join the long list of companies to not make it through 2020.


I’ve found myself disappearing into my thoughts and spinning out of control, worrying if we were going to survive.


And I know that many of you reading this know exactly what I’m talking about.


But with just a few days left before the holidays, as I look out at my snowy backyard and decorated Christmas tree, I am proud to tell you that Provision is ending this most challenging, most chaotic and most unusual of years stronger than it has ever been.


After such a rollercoaster, it does feel fitting to take a deep breath, to take a moment to reflect on why, despite the incredible human and economic cost of these last twelve months, I am ending the year in a place of deep gratitude.


And don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this into a Provision Family Christmas letter where I bore you all with how little Olivia has got a new scout badge and little Jimmy is doing so great in hockey and all the awards we’ve won!


No, this is more about me saying thank you.


To you and to all of those who have worked so tirelessly throughout 2020 to keep food and drink on the shelves, to keep families fed, and to keep your workers safe.


To you and to all those who have stepped in to support your communities, or perhaps after years of taking care of your community, saw others step up to support you.


To you and to all those who are building back better and using this moment of upheaval to create an economy and a society more akin to the one we would be proud to leave to our grandkids.


I firmly believe that these last twelve months are going to be written into the history books of the future as not just a huge upheaval but as a watershed moment. That has been my experience.


I’ve spent the better part of two decades pushing a rock uphill.


That rock represents the idea that there is a better way to make food, a more purpose-driven, sustainable, humane, less wasteful and more inspiring way to make good food and make good money.


I won’t pretend that it has been easy. Hence the rock analogy. Enrolling food and beverage companies in changing mindsets, operations and practices has been an exercise in slow and steady.


But 2020 has changed that.


I haven’t had to explain the business case for sustainability to anyone for months now. It’s like a switch has flipped and everyone is suddenly getting it. There is a momentum, a drive, an understanding that the kind of macro shifts in our industry that seemed out of reach to so many just a few short months ago are now not just necessary, but urgent.


Sustainability as a way of doing business has finally begun to be mainstream. Purpose as a way of creating alignment and unlocking creativity and productivity across organizations, likewise.


And that has been the first of two major shifts that I’ve witnessed this year.


The second is a massive acceleration in the speed of change and innovation.


Perhaps it was due to the ability to fill the calendar with back-to-back Zoom meetings (although remembering to schedule bathroom breaks is now a real thing) and engage meaningfully with so many more people. Perhaps it was the pressure of a second lockdown. Perhaps it was a combination of both those and so many other factors. What I am clear on is that 2020 has drastically reduced the time required between having a good idea and bringing it to life.


One example among many for me would be the Re(PURPOSE) Circular Meal which we launched in October. Just four months earlier, I sat in my car with Jon Duschinsky, my EVP and we had what felt like a crazy idea. What if we could take some spent grain from a brewery client of ours in Guelph and upcycle it into insect feed, then take the insects and feed them to fish and then have that fish become a restaurant meal. And what if we could do that all within a 50 km radius so that it was hyper-local. It was one of our crazier ideas, especially in the heart of a global pandemic.


And yet, four months later, seven companies and a restaurant chain had come together to launch the first ever fully Circular Meal!


I do believe the speed at which this all came together had something to do with 2020. And yet, it has shown us all just how much impact we can have, and how quickly we can have it, when we stand in what if and when we no longer need to collectively hang onto what was.


Yes, it’s been immensely challenging. Yes, my team and I have worked harder this year than any other year I can remember in the past. And yes, I am really going to enjoy taking a few days with my family and not opening my email over the holidays.


But more than anything, I am grateful.


And I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves with more vigour than ever next year, to finally shrugging off that rock and to working with you all to accelerate our progress to creating a sustainable food system in this country and beyond.


Happy Holidays.




PS - Provision will be closed from December 25, 2020 to January 3, 2021


Cher Mereweather

President & CEO

P 519.822.2042 x1

C 519.803.6395

Tags: Sustainability, Food and Beverage

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