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Local sustainable food system gets a $1.25-million boost

November 29, 2016, Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm and other local food entrepreneurs are among the beneficiaries of $1.25 million in new funding from Vancity’s enviro™ Visa program, the enviroFund™.

Half a million dollars of funding will go to support UBC Farm’s Business and Agri-Food Research Network (or BARN@UBC Farm), a proposed food and beverage pilot processing facility that will help to develop and support B.C.’s sustainable food and beverage sector. The BARN@UBC Farm will be part of a larger building managed by the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm and will focus on teaching, research and community engagement around environmentally and socially sustainable food systems.

Vancity’s contribution will not only help build these important new facilities, but will also support sustainable local food business development programs through partnerships such as Feeding Growth.

An example of how the local organic food sector is thriving in British Columbia is the organic ready-to-blend smoothie company “The Good Stuff.” The Good Stuff was born when two UBC basketball players in search of a veggie fix got tired of wilted spinach and expensive juice. They employed the services of UBC Farms to buy their leafy greens and have since tapped into the expertise of the food processing sector through the Feeding Growth: Scaling Growth Program to help them grow and develop their business.

Other recipients from the 2016 enviroFund™ program who are contributing to developing a sustainable food system include:

  1. Young Agrarians
  2. BC Food Systems Network
  3. The Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CR-FAIR)
  4. FarmFolk CityFolk – Resources for local food business development
  5. Your Local Farmers Market Society (Vancouver Farmers Market)
  6. Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
  7. BC Association of Farmers' Markets
  8. Vancouver Urban Farming Society (VUFS)
  9. Kwantlen Polytechnic University Foundation
  10. Asian Environmental Association (HUA Foundation)
  11. City of Surrey Economic Development Division
  12. Delta Farmers’ Institute Society
  13. DRS Earthwise Society
  14. FarmFolk CityFolk – Seed Extension Services
  15. Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group (Fernwood NRG)
  16. Fraser Common Farm Co-op
  17. Glen Valley Organic Farm Cooperative
  18. Meal Exchange
  19. Salmon Coast Field Station Society
  20. The Mustard Seed Street Church

Over the last five years the enviroFund™ has distributed a total of $3.2 million to a variety of initiatives that contribute to building a local food system that integrates shared values related to sustainability, community health and economic vitality.


“It’s more important than ever to provide the infrastructure to support the growth of these organizations who are helping to provide local and organic food to British Columbians. It’s a win/win when we support these entrepreneurs because it adds value to our local economy while also reducing our environmental footprint.” ” William Azaroff, Vancity’s vice-president of community investment
“Vancity is the first organization to pledge support for our pilot processing facility. This project provides critical food science infrastructure, research, and instruction to help B.C.’s sustainable food and beverage entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. B.C. is the only major province without a significant pilot processing research and development capability, and Vancity is helping us change that.” ” Rickey Yada, Dean of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems
“The success of our business has been in having access to local, organic food and support from the experts at Feeding Growth. We’re proud that we source our food locally, which allows us to provide healthy food to our customers, create local jobs and contribute to growing our local economy.” Tonner Jackson, The Good Stuff

About the enviroFund™ program

Each year Vancity shares a portion of profits from the enviro™ Visa card by supporting initiatives in communities where our members live and work through the enviroFund. Since the enviro™ Visa program began in 1990 almost $8 million has been distributed to organizations who are providing innovative solutions that advance Vancity’s vision to positively impact the environmental well-being of our members and their communities.

About the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

The BARN@UBC Farm is a proposed food and beverage pilot processing facility at UBC Farm which will help develop and support the sustainable food and beverage sector in B.C. and across Canada. It will promote the competitiveness of B.C.'s $8 billion food industry and Canada's fast growing natural health product processing industry by providing research and teaching support to food and beverage incubators and entrepreneurs.

For more information:
T: 778-837-0394


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