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2017 enviroFund™ grant recipients

Focus for 2017

In 2017, the enviroFund continued 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 2017, the enviroFund will allocate $758,000 in funding to support three program areas:

1. Local Food Project Grants:

This program supports larger-scale projects that are innovative or scalable, will increase local sustainable food production and lead to the growth of this sector.

BC Eco Seed Co-op

Enhancing Local Ecological Seed Distribution ($15,000)

Design and procure crucial infrastructure to scale-up their marketing, cleaning, storage and distribution systems. The project will support the region’s first permanent seed warehouse to expand the efficiency and reach of local seed; a key element of the local food system.

Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC)

Community Extension for Small Scale Producers ($20,000)

This work will build extension capacity in the region and pilot an on-farm extension model to support farmers with the application of soil, water, and pest management strategies informed by science and recent academic research on climate adaptation and resiliency.

David Suzuki Foundation

Supplying Local Markets with Sustainable Fish ($15,000)

This project will evaluate and promote a soon to be completed large-scale seafood traceability program for BC trawl caught groundfish. This project will increase sustainable seafood offerings in terms of volume of product, diversity of species, coverage of the BC coast, year-round availability, and affordability of products for the end consumer.

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society

The Suwa’lkh School Earth Spirit Healing Farms ($20,000)

Supports Kwikwetlem youth and community to grow local food and medicine. In this 2nd phase of the project, students and their community will plan new foodlands to include; a native plant forage forest, a permaculture food forest, and farmer's market.

Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society

Surplus Food Processing Initiative ($15,000)

The Food Bank will develop a social enterprise which utilizes surplus produce and turns it into nutritious products, while working with local partners to provide training and employment for persons with barriers to traditional employment.

Italian Cultural Centre Society

The Food Hub ($15,000)

Establish a “Food Hub” site that will connect existing food system partners, the local and organic community, vendors involved in the Farmers Market, and create a needed local food distribution and storage facility.

Lohbrunner Community Farm Cooperative

Development of Sustainable Food System in Langford ($20,000)

Funds will support the development of Lohbrunner Community Farm, increasing sustainable local food production in the Langford/CRD area. New farm infrastructure will help establish emerging farm businesses, increasing production to meet the demands of local school culinary programs.

Pollinator Partnership Canada

Farming for Bees ($15,000)

Native bees are essential for food production. The project’s main focus is public engagement and education to encourage bee habitat creation, which will benefit bee biodiversity and abundance. Farmers, land managers, and gardeners will learn about the importance of native bees and how to conserve them, through workshops, farm events, networks, and awards.

SeaChange Marine Conservation Society

SNIDCEL Resiliency Project ($20,000)

Funding will help restore the food systems of WSANEC First Nations in traditional harvesting sites of Tod Inlet. WSANEC youth will receive training to enable them to become leaders in revitalizing traditional food practices and educating the community.

T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation

The BC Young Fishermen’s Network ($15,000)

Empowering the next generation of BC’s fishing industry through a series of innovative workshops that will provide the tools necessary to be successful, and support the environmental, social and economic sustainability of coastal communities.

The Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CRFAIR)

Closing the Supply Gap ($20,000)

Project brings together key actors in developing aggregation, storage and distribution capacity for the local farm sector in the CRD. This pilot project will support a Canada GAP certified farm to aggregate from local farms to sell to institutional purchasers.

University of the Fraser Valley-Agriburban Research Centre

Local Food Sourcing by Fraser Valley Restaurants ($15,000)

This project will assess and facilitate sourcing and supply relationships between restaurants and farms in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, and Langley. Supporting our local farmers and putting fresh local food on the menu.

Vancouver Farmers Market

Expansion of VFM Direct to Year-round Operations ($15,000)

VFM Direct is a small farm aggregation and distribution service run by Vancouver Farmers Markets to help small regional farms aggregate and gain access for their products to commercial buyers such as restaurants and institutions.

2.Targeted Sector Support

Vancity is committed to helping local and organic food businesses grow.

In 2017, the enviroFund will invest in the future by supporting the development of a new Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm. In a two year agreement Vancity agreed to support the CFSF with a $500,000 grant, ($250,000 per year in 2016 and 2017). The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) acts as a catalyst in the Lower Mainland and BC for economic, social, and environmental activity and innovation in the food system. The CSFS aims to pioneer more sustainable local and global food systems by providing information, research, and training, and by collaborating with a broad spectrum of business and non-profit partners.

$400,000 will support the new building which will house a pilot processing plant. BC is the only province without a pilot processing plant, so this addition is integral to growing our local food processing business sector. This plant will allow early stage food entrepreneurs a chance to test their products and the market without having to make big investments in infrastructure.

$100,000 will support programing at the CFSF that will help build the business capacity of progressive BC food producers and processors for a five year period from 2017 – 2021. This year the support is going towards the Feeding Growth – Scale Your Progressive Food Business series.

3. 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 that are working to build a food system which contributes to a healthier environment, improved individual health, and a more resilient local economy. These organizations will receive both project and core organizational support.

Young Agrarians

Young Agrarians Organizational Development and Business Mentorship Network ($40,000)

Young Agrarians is a network supporting and encouraging new and young ecological and organic farmers in BC. They received core organizational funding and support for their Business Mentorship program. The program funding will help new farmers develop the business skills necessary to run financially viable farm businesses.

BC Food Systems Network

Finding Common Ground through Collective Impact ($40,000)

The BC Food Systems Network operates as a network to build connections, catalyze opportunities, and coordinate activities to advance the mission of creating healthy, just and sustainable food systems in British Columbia. The ‘Finding Common Ground through Collective Impact’ project is focused on advancing innovative public policy, programs and partnerships to better coordinate training and support for new entrants into farming. Education, training and extension opportunities that support new entrants will be crucial in developing new local farmers and protecting our local food supply.

The Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR)

Land Access and New Grower Development ($40,000)

CR-FAIR is a coalition of organizations, working in the Capital Regional District, to strengthen regional food security and our local food system, from farm gate to dinner plate. Funding through the enviroFund will support a variety of sector building initiatives in two main areas:

  • Supporting land access and new grower development through the establishment of two new incubator farms in conjunction with two municipal partners.
  • Building regional marketing and distribution capacity through support for 3 key initiatives: Get Ready Get Local, Flavour Trails, and Farmer2Farmer.

FarmFolk/CityFolk (FFCF)

Resources for Local Food Business Development ($40,000)

FFCF works to cultivate a local, sustainable food system. Their projects provide access to and protection of foodlands; support local growers and producers; and engage communities in the celebration of local food. Program funding will support local farmers and food businesses through their Get Local Program. In order to make finding and buying local products more convenient than ever before, they will connect consumers with local food producers (stores, restaurants, and markets) through their Get Local site powered by Soil Mate.

Vancouver Farmers Market

Riley Park Pavilion Permanent Farmers Market: Phase II ($40,000)

Vancouver Farmers Market have been supporting small farm production, nourishing people and connecting neighbours for over 20 years, through their many farmers’ market locations. They serve 20,000 people weekly, generating $15 million in direct and indirect revenues for the regional economy, yet this economic and social impact is based on markets that are outdoors in temporary locations with no long-term permits and no infrastructure. This project funding will help them raise the capital necessary to secure a permanent year-round farmers market space at the planned Riley Park Pavilion. Ultimately, the intended impact is to build Vancouver's first dedicated, purpose-built farmers market pavilion and plaza: a precedent and model for other future similar structures in Vancouver - a permanent legacy for future generations of farmers and community members and our regional food system overall.

Vancouver Aquarium

Ocean Wise Program ($40,000)

This program funding will support the Ocean Wise Local Food program, which aims to reduce economic, geographic and cultural barriers to consumers who want to purchase sustainable seafood. Funding will also support local businesses incorporate more sustainable seafood options into their businesses, through industry outreach events and training. This year, they are excited to welcome sustainable seafood ambassador and celebrated Chef Ned Bell as the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise Executive Chef. Chef Bell will participate in industry outreach events and help offer peer-to-peer guidance to new Ocean Wise chefs and businesses.

BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Farmers' Markets: Building Capacity of BC Farmers' Markets and Food Producers ($40 000)

The BCAFM is committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of farmers' markets in all regions of British Columbia. They educate, engage and inspire people to create a vibrant farming sector in BC, one that nourishes and supports our natural environment and communities. The project funding for BCAFM will support their business development training programs for farmers’ market vendors - the small businesses, including small-scale farmers, food processors and other locally focused food businesses that are the foundation of farmers' markets across the province.