VERGE ALUMNI PROFILE

MEET JODI MCKEE AND ERIC FONTENOT

  • Co-owners, Urban Homesteading Store
  • Graduated from Verge PDC in 2012
  • Based in Stoney Plain, AB

JODI AND ERIC'S STORY

After completing their PDCs’, Eric, a P.Eng, and Jodi, with her background in supply chain management, quit their jobs to pursue their new vision: forge a more sustainable lifestyle, and help other urbanites do the same.

Frustrated at having to go to a different place for every supply, with cheese-making equipment at one store and gardening tools at the next, Jodi dreamed of a one-stop shop where other would-be homesteaders could get everything they needed. That dream became the Urban Homesteading Store, an online store that ships across Canada, with hopes of expanding into the US in the future.

On Running a New Type of Business:

“Starting something from scratch that isn’t mainstream is very hard and can be a struggle, but we are happier now than ever before. The only advice that I can give to others is to trust your instincts, have a plan and then let things evolve where they need to go. If my PDC has taught me anything it was to work naturally with what the environment is telling you, and that’s exactly what you have to do with business as well.”

On Their Experiences with Verge:

“Being part of the Verge PDC was an incredible and somewhat uncomfortable experience, in a good way! When I say uncomfortable I mean that being there made us fully evaluate our lives and decide what it is we wanted and what we needed to let go of. I loved being fully immersed in the two week live-in class… and it really enforced our decision to start up our own business. It isn’t easy to drop everything we knew to be true and travel into the unknown, but knowing that Rob and Michelle were there to help us along was great!

We met so many inspiring people during our PDC. In fact, I met our future designer there, Shauna Teare from RBrand, who helped visualize our logo and marketing strategy.”

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ABOUT THE URBAN HOMESTEADING STORE

The Urban Homesteading Store sells heirloom garden seeds, organic gardening products, cheese-making equipment, bee-keeping supplies, even composting toilets! It’s also the distributor for The Urban Cultivator. With her expertise in supply chain management, Jodi focuses on sourcing quality North American-made products whenever possible.

Jodi and Eric want to provide people with the tools, skills, knowledge and inspiration to grow their own fresh, delicious food in ways that are beneficial for both the environment and community. Through the Urban Homesteading Store, they are able to support people on the sometimes messy, but always rewarding journey of doing things better, and to empower them to create their own positive change.

Currently Jodi and Eric are also offering classes on fermenting, and planning an Urban Homesteading Symposium this spring.

Interested in Learning More about the Urban Homesteading Store?

  • Email: info (at) urbanhomesteadingstore.com
  • Phone: 780-591-4566  Toll free: 1-855-838-1313
  • Website: www.info.urbanhomesteadingstore.com
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