Vancity enviro Visa* cardholders have helped raise millions of dollars in grants over the years just by using their credit cards for daily transactions. How? Every year, a portion of Vancity enviro Visa's profits is distributed back to the local community through the Vancity enviroFund program.
The enviroFund has distributed a total of $5.7 million since its inception in 1990 to support organizations that make an impact by helping to address local environmental concerns.
Focus for 2014
In 2014, the enviroFund is continuing to provide support towards the development of a sustainable, local food system. For Vancity, a strong sustainable food system is one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of our operating regions of Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria and the Fraser Valley.
In 2014, the enviroFund will allocate $500,000 in funding to support three program areas:
1. Targeted Sector Support Initiatives
Vancity is committed to helping local and organic food businesses grow.
In 2014, the enviroFund is supporting two organizations to grow successful farmers markets, small scale food processors and small and medium producers. Vancity has been working with both organizations and is committed to continuing to build their capacity to deliver services to their members in our local communities.
The BC Association of Farmers' Markets will enhance their Strengthening Farmers Markets program and provide more resources, tools and support to help their members grow. The Association is committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of local farmers' markets, so that the markets can continue to support local farmers and food producers and provide British Columbians with fresh healthy local food.
The Small Scale Food Processor Association will continue to help small and medium size enterprises in the food processing industry by providing education, training and networking opportunities to this local business sector.
2. Sustainable Food System Development Initiatives
This program is aimed at providing support for organizations which are focused on developing a viable and sustainable local food system through sector development initiatives. We are interested in supporting organizations to build a food system which contributes to a healthier environment, improved individual health, and a more resilient local economy.
We are inviting applications from key organizations with a strong mandate to develop a sustainable food system. To be eligible, organizations must have been operating for three years, achieved significant accomplishments and received prior Vancity funding for local food sector development work. This funding will be available to support their core operations and ongoing program areas.
Application for this funding program is by invitation only.
In 2014, the Sustainable Food System Development Initiatives grant recipients were:
- Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR Fair), formed in 1997, is a coalition of organizations working to strengthen regional food security and our local food system, from farm gate to dinner plate. CR-FAIR's mission is to increase knowledge of and bring about positive change in the food and agriculture system within the Capital Region
- FarmFolk CityFolk is a not for profit society that works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Their projects provide access to & protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food
- The BC Food Systems Network (BCFSN) was formed in 1999 and incorporated in 2004. Its 300-plus individual members include farmers, health practitioners, educators, and consumers across the province. It links and facilitates food security activities between over 20 community-based food security organizations and Food Policy Councils
- The Vancouver Urban Farming Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the sustainability of urban farming in Vancouver and throughout BC.
3. Local Food Project Grants
Vancity is interested in supporting larger-scale projects that are innovative or scalable will increase local sustainable food production and lead to the growth of this sector. For more information on this program, click here.
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