About the Light Cellar
The Light Cellar is a place where you can find, and learn how to craft, your own food and medicine.
We are an independent and inspired business offering the largest range of superfoods in Canada.
When you visit, you will receive care, guidance, and expertise. You will be able to select from the highest quality superfoods, super herbs, medicinal mushrooms, friendly ferments, chocolate making ingredients, and more. You can also enjoy a hot or cold Elixir beverage or one of the many sweet and savoury snacks and lunches we craft in-house.
We envision a world that honours the sacredness of all life and source only the best, highest quality ingredients which have been wild-crafted or grown at or above organic standards. We offer ongoing classes, events, and workshops to support you in your journey to sustainability and deliciously nourish your being.
Meet Light Cellar Co-Founder Malcolm Saunders
The Story of The Light Cellar
The Light Cellar began in the basement of Laura’s parents’ house—she and I (Malcolm) lived there for a short time—after post-secondary schooling and post-world-travels—while we figured out our next direction in life. We were young and motivated to help change the world, while improving our own lives.
At that time, both Laura and I had been vegetarians for more than a decade, and I’d been immersed in the world of raw veganism. My passion for health, food, and nutrition was extreme. It directed my everyday decision making, and soon took me and my new family South to work at a raw-vegan retreat centre in Arizona.
A constant striving to learn, and try new things, led to an expanded repertoire in the kitchen.
I was compelled to find a diet that reflected my own philosophical approach to life, while meeting my real physical nutritional needs. I evolved and moved away from vegetarianism.
My deep dive into the world of vegetables and plants led me to superfoods, medicinal mushrooms, and eventually to herbal traditions from around the world. Ultimately, that led to discovering Elixirs and their further development. It was my experience with the significant personal impact and changes from superfoods that inspired me to share with others. I started by teaching workshops out of our basement; in those early days, a group of sometimes six or less was a success.
I began ordering bulk amounts of my favourite superfoods to the house because supply and availability in Calgary were scarce. I knew what I wanted in terms of selection and quality; I just couldn’t find it. What I could find was outrageously expensive. Back then, only one health food store (in Calgary) sold Cacao powder: $55 a pound. From living in the States, I had names of suppliers, and so I began ordering—first for my own use. I soon added a couple extra pounds to my orders for friends, and for those taking classes.
We never planned or envisioned opening a store, but it evolved naturally. Initially, when Laura and I got our own home, we set up the basement to house her colonic practice, for me to host classes, and to produce small, saleable quantities from bulk orders. We joked about being a “feed ‘em and clean ‘em” operation. In addition, we opened our home for anyone to come by on a Sunday to pick up some items, and chat.
Word of mouth has always been our best strategy for growing our business, yet at this time it was hindered because of the circumstances. People would say that they loved what we offered, and would tell their friends about us, jokingly referring to us as their ‘dealer’. The instructions given to their friends to go ‘around the back of this dude’s house to his basement to get the goods’ wasn’t always met with enthusiasm or eagerness.
So, after a year and a half, back in 2007, we made the leap and rented a very small commercial space on Bowness Road in Northwest Calgary, a location in which we then grew into and expanded.
Since the beginning, while all this was unfolding, equally part of my joy and my offering was making chocolate. Born out of my love for playing in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes, and always trying to upgrade the familiar to something more healthy and extraordinary, I had developed a reputation for my tasty and healthy superfood chocolate. To this day, is still produced by the Light Cellar.
What was originally chocolate-making extended to fermentation— first sauerkraut, then pickles, and now many other fermented foods and drinks all crafted in-house. The next stop was Elixirs.
In the early days of Elixir Crafting, we featured a weekly special Elixir. Created on a whim, influenced by season and whatever ingredients we had on hand, our customers would order one of these warm elixirs when they stopped in for weekly supplies. We’d blend the Elixirs in the back while our customers shopped.
It was during renovations, a few years in, that we created an Elixir bar with a full menu of offerings that included warm and cold Elixirs. It was one of North America’s first Elixir bars. The recipes have been continually refined and upgraded and we offer a monthly special seasonal drink along with our full menu that now includes both sweet and savoury, snack and lunch items we craft in-house from wild, local, and seasonal ingredients.
We moved to our new and current location in 2019 and are happy to still be residing in the heart of the Bowness community.
Our new location includes an expanded Elixir Bar with a free library, free WIFI, free kid friendly activities, an outside pet friendly patio, front store seating, an expanded teaching kitchen and more space to host exciting events!
The Light Cellar is not just a place to eat, shop and connect. Our mission at its core is to help you learn how to find and craft your own food and medicine. We love providing a variety of the highest quality superfoods, herbs, ferments and more to help you alongside your wellness journey.
Since day 1, we have always offered classes and events at the Light Cellar.
Our workshops and seminars have helped thousands recreate their relationship with food. And we provide insight into a variety of health topics, from the practical to the philosophical which educate and inspire individuals to gain confidence in their own health journey, and to learn new life skills.
This has been through in-person classes, community event, online seminars, interviews, and videos.
The Light Cellar Teaching Kitchen is a friendly place to begin or continue your journey of health. Our classes are designed to meet you where you’re at and help you to easily upgrade your understanding and approach to health and healing by providing empowering educational experiences to enlighten your culinary abilities, and expand your perspectives about food and nutrition.
By attending classes at the Light Cellar you will gain knowledge, new skills, and perhaps most importantly, the confidence to know how to provide more deeply nourishing food for yourself and your family.
You can check out our current list of upcoming live classes as well as recorded sessions on this website that feature a diversity of topics from a variety of expert instructors.
To learn more about all the staff who are key characters who each play a role in what makes this community so amazing visit the Meet The Team page. We would love the opportunity to connect in person if you are in the Calgary area, and provide you with whatever you need through the webstore.
Thank you so much for being part of the Light Cellar community and its unfolding story. Be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter below to receive weekly updates, recipes, seasonal tips, etc.