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Vancity grants $1 million to help build a sustainable local food system

For immediate release -- August 7, 2013

Vancouver, B.C. - How can buying your morning coffee or newspaper contribute to your local food system? Vancity’s enviro™ Visa* cardholders know—they’re supporting local and organic food and farmers markets each time they make a purchase with their credit card.

Over the years, enviro Visa cardholders have helped raise millions of dollars in grants just by using their credit card for daily transactions. Every year Vancity donates a portion of its enviro Visa profits to the local community. A total of $5.7 million has been distributed by Vancity since 1990. Of the one million dollars granted this year, $750,000 will support 18 community initiatives relating to our local food system, and the remaining $250,000 will support 23 farmers markets as well as the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. (See the full list of recipients.)

Mo Ladak, Vancity VP, Visa, says, “We’re thrilled with the momentum that is building around this critical sector. Sustainable food production provides economic, social, and environmental benefits to our community. It helps improve community well-being and contributes to the local economy. It also helps secure a supply of local food and keeps our food system resilient.”

There are growing concerns about disappearing farmland, depleted salmon populations, inequities in food distribution, the rise of a fast-food culture, and the carbon footprint of food. That’s why Vancity thinks building a resilient local food system is important. There is tremendous local interest in growing and buying local and organic food, and working to ensure sustainable food production.

An economic and social benefits study by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets found that more people are shopping at farmers markets and shoppers are spending more money at these markets. The study identified the five most important factors market shoppers consider when making purchases are: nutritional content, whether it’s grown or produced in BC, is in season, is grown or produced locally, and animal welfare issues. The study also found that farmers markets in BC have continued to grow in number, producing 147 per cent more sales in 2012 than in 2006, delivering more than $170 million in total economic benefits.

Vancity not only grants to but also invests in local and organic food by working with local businesses, not-for-profit organizations and sector initiatives focused on promoting and growing a sustainable local food system (read related stories here). In 2013 the credit union invested more than $7 million in this sector.

™ enviro, enviroFund, and Vancity are trademarks of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. *Visa Int./Vancity, Licensed User.

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 492,000 member-owners and their communities through 57 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. As Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $17.1 billion in assets to help improve the financial wellbeing of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy, sustainable communities. Member deposits enable the credit union to loan to other members, businesses and organizations that are creating positive economic, social and environmental impact in their communities. Vancity is a Living Wage employer and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks sharing a commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices.

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For more information:

Lorraine Wilson | Vancity

T: 778-837-0394