Two innovative British Columbia businesses have come up with an clever scheme that links farms with schools and community-based organizations. Their Farm Bag Fundraiser program gives schools and organizations a way to support local farmers and raise funds at the same time. It is a win for both ends of the equation, as farmers gain a market for their produce.
One of the companies, Local Motive Organic Delivery is owned by Thomas Tumbach, whose passion for sustainable food systems led him to acquire a degree in Agroecology. He is also a grower, raising vegetables in the Okanagan Valley.
The second company is Little Green Book, whose tag line – “a network of visionaries” – is an apt description of its mission:
Little Green Book is a digital networking and design think tank. Our portfolio features collaborative relationships that share common core goals.
A Little Green Book project is fundamentally based on the principles of environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Jennifer Vincent is the founding mastermind behind Little Green Book. With her background in horticulture and determination to raise awareness about where food comes from, she and Tumbach make the ideal pair to connect local farmers with consumers through the Farm Bag Fundraiser.
Schools and community organizations that opt into the fundraising scheme make a 20% commission on their sales during the growing season. Their customers receive a monthly Farm Bag with 6-8 kinds of fruits and vegetables that are in season and are sourced from local and BC growers, organic when available.
The farmers earn fair wage for their products with 60% of the sale price going towards the purchase of their produce.
This month we delivered a total of 306 bags to 11 fundraising groups. Since program inception in October, over 30,000 lbs of produce have been sold.
The potential for transforming children’s understanding of where their food comes from is evident in the video shot by Shaw TV. It starts with a scene that gives me hope for raising awareness of the food system. A kindergartener at Uplands Elementary signs in one of the customers of the school’s Farm Bag Fundraiser and says, “You just, like, sign them in. We give them their bag, and then they get to pick out vegetables. That’s what they do.”
Just how critical it is to give young people this kind of exposure was confirmed by a new survey of Australian children. Many of the students figured yogurt comes from plants and pasta was an animal product.
With food security such a critical global issue, a scheme like Farm Bag Fundraiser just may be the missing piece in making sustainable farming more viable and rearing a generation of farm supporters.
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Photo from color line via Flickr Creative Commons
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