Think & Eat Green partner Fresh Roots winners of the VanCity Venture Challenge Competition

Ilana Labow, co-founder and director of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society has been awarded the first VanCity Good Money Impact™ Venture Challenge competition, a initiative launched to help post-secondary students and recent post-secondary graduates grow businesses that are creating positive social and environmental impact in B.C.

A recent partner of the Think & Eat Green @ School project, Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society enhances urban food sovereignty by creating equitable access to healthy food and educating communities through engaging, innovative neighborhood farms, and most recently through schoolyard market gardens. Ilana Labow is currently a Masters of Science candidate studying the viability of schoolyard market gardens in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC, while co-founder Marc Schutzbank is a Masters of Science candidate in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, investigating the economic, social, and environmental contributions of Vancouver’s urban farms.

To quote from the VanCity brief:

“We were extremely impressed by the forty applications we received from innovative organizations that are making social and environmental impacts that benefit so many of us,” said Garth Davis, VP Community Capital,Vancity. “The final three candidates are great examples of how we are focused on our philosophy of putting money to good by working together to build sustainable communities.”

First prize winner Ilana Labow of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society was overwhelmed by the $50,000 cash prize as it will truly change what they are able to accomplish this season and moving forward. “Hundreds of children in schools across Vancouver eat our schoolyard grown veggies with huge smiles on their faces because they learn and play in the spaces where their food grows and know their farmers,” said Ilana Labow. “Vancity has just made it possible for literally thousands of children to share that same experience. Their commitment to genuine impact, at a neighborhood level, for all people, re-inspires my faith in the possibility of true systemic change. I feel lucky to be living in a city with a credit union like Vancity.”

Other winners in the competition were TwoThirds Water Inc., a B.C. social venture that provides water treatment products for international development and disaster relief, and Urban Stream Innovation Inc., which develops technology for the emerging urban agriculture market. A hearty congratulations to all participants of such a positive initiative!

For more information, head over to the VanCity news page.

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