Home News ‘Rooted’ does sustainability one sip at a time 

‘Rooted’ does sustainability one sip at a time 

Courtesy Donya Albany

Donya Albany starts off her mornings by drinking a glass of celery juice she presses herself – it’s something she’s added into her routine for a while now.  

“Pretty much every day of the week I drink juice,” she said, anywhere between two to a maximum of seven a day. She’s even earned the nickname juice lady around town, she said. “I’m always drinking juice, always talking about juice. I’m always making juice.” 

When she incorporated juicing into her life, turning it into a business wasn’t part of the plan. But it wasn’t long before she saw it was a possibility and posted a batch for sale, which sold out in under 15 minutes.  

She officially launched her juice business, Rooted, in June 2021. 

“It’s nice and reassuring to know that there’s other people out there who really want to take their life and their health into their own hands and live a healthier lifestyle,” said Albany.  

She prides herself on having her juices be all-natural, with no added preservative or sugar. “It’s just from produce to bottle,” she said. 

She procures the fruits and veggies from an organic grocery store called Avril, with several seasonal items sourced locally, an element of her business that’s been important to her.  

“When we are supporting local businesses, farmers, workers, we support our neighbours and community to be able to survive and make a living. Our community will then flourish,” she said.  

She trades her bottled juices with local farmers in exchange for garlic, honey, or various herbs she uses in her blends. “It would be nice in the future if we can have a huge community garden where we can just stay local, that’s a dream,” she said.  

During Wáhta season, she gets her maple syrup from Kaienthókwen, a local and Indigenous food store located on Route 207, which she uses to make the immunity shot – a sharp blend of lemon, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and maple syrup.  

The recipes and flavours are in constant rotation, with a few fixed favourites on the menu.  

Sweet Beet; Moon Juice, made for women on their moon time; Classic Carrot; Celery; Just Greens; and Strong Cantaloupe are all classic offerings. The Healthy Kids green juice is her favourite of the bunch.  

“It holds a special place in my heart because that was a blend that my son came up with and then we teamed up together like little business partners,” she said.  

Albany and her son, Tempest, who is nine years old, started experimenting with juicing and creating different blends long before Albany opened her business.   

“I asked him one day what flavor he wanted to drink. And he said, ‘I want to try celery and apple.’ So, he did green apple and celery. And when I blended it, he drank it and he was like, ‘this tastes really good.’” 

When she opened the business about a year later, the mother-son duo decided to have that juice on their menu and cater it to kids – the packaging has an illustration of her son’s face on it, giving a thumbs up.  

It became a crowd favourite among youth and adults alike, she said.  

Aside from the handful of local stores she supplies to, she also has a loyal client base who order on a weekly basis, picking up the juices from a fridge on her porch. 

The immunity shots come in glass bottles, and customers get a discount on their next order when they return the bottles, giving them an incentive to be mindful of their consumption habits. 

Albany also composts produce waste, and even offers some produce waste to friends like Theresa Wigmore, who owns a farm sanctuary called Lands of Hearts in Sherrington. She comes for pick-ups on a weekly basis and uses the produce waste to make treats and snacks for her cows, horses, and pigs – there are about 50 of them.  

“If you put Donya’s leftovers and the grain, they won’t even touch the grain,” she said, adding it’s a healthier alternative for the animals that not only produces better tasting meat, but also more potent manure, which she offers to local farmers. 

 
The produce waste Albany bags for pick-up to be used in gardens or farms. Nanor Froundjian The Eastern Door  

“The plants are two three times bigger; the vegetables are two three times bigger,” she said. “It’s incredible.” 

Aside from composting, Albany uses the pulp to make at-home face masks or uses them as an ingredient to make snacks, another avenue to reducing waste.  

Albany also took part in the low-waste market earlier this month, where she got to connect with others who share her passions.  

“It excites me when I have other people who are on the same mindset of sustainability and making sure we’re taking care of our planet, making sure that we’re finding ways that we can keep the cycle going as opposed to just throwing things in the garbage and adding all the filth to the land.”  

For now, Albany operates from her kitchen, but she’s working towards taking her business to the next level. “I do dream of the day that I’ll open a little storefront.” 

nanor.fr@gmail.com 

This article was originally published in print on April 19 in issue 33.16 of The Eastern Door.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.

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Nanor is a reporter and copy editor with The Eastern Door. She was previously the managing editor and creative director at The Link.