COIL Stories

Branching Out Support Services:

A social enterprise focusing on food-related capacities to launch employment skills so that everyone has the opportunity to participate in and support our neuro-diverse community.

Branching Out Support Services (BOSS) provide programming to create communities where everyone can belong and have important and valued social roles. The CommonFare Kitchen teaches skills for independence and employment to neuro-diverse individuals through the Granola Project. Additional program streams include day services and a comprehensive community 1 on 1 support program with more individualized services.

The Evolve project focused on developing their now signature granola product, particularly, how to bring benefits of the circular economy to the product. This included learning how to embrace the circular economy to reduce product costs, in order to invest these savings in support for neuro-diverse workers.

Quinoa held in cupped hands over a full bowl of quinoa

The Impact

Supporting neurodiverse workers: A key impact for BOSS was hiring two neurodiverse individuals to work on the Granola Project. This was made possible by savings incurred through replacing 25% of oats in the granola with spent grains.

Improving food security: Increased community collaborations between local food producers, farms, and cafés are invaluable outcomes. BOSS is able to support other local companies by sourcing their products, such as maple syrup. BOSS also has an initiative that allows one to buy bags of the granola online to be donated to the food bank.

How they made it work

By partnering with GoodLot Farmstead Brewing Co., BOSS was able to source and replace 25% of the oats in their granola with spent grains, a food waste byproduct of the brewing industry. Many of the carbohydrates and sugars are boiled out of grains in processing so it becomes a more nutritious product, with great flavour too!

Their collaboration with the local food bank allows BOSS to trade product in exchange for the usage of the food bank’s commercial kitchen. An additional strategy that contributed to improved food security for the community included adding an option to purchase bags of granola for donation to the local food bank at the online check out.

Mentorship was also a key component of the Evolve project. Hearing from experts in both business and circular economy sectors brought new ideas and strategies that may not have been considered.

Funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario