Food and income on the table in times of need in the Cowichan Valley

As the covid-19 pandemic continues, putting strains on families across Canada, we want to ensure our partners in British Columbia are able to continue to do what they do best: connect farmers and consumers to put food and income on the table in times of need.

Community Evolution is launching a special $10K appeal to help ensure that farmers continue to have a means to get fresh local produce into the hands of people in our region. Your support will contribute to food security and prosperity on southern Vancouver Island.

Working together to connect more farmers and consumers

Since 2015, Community Evolution has worked together with the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace (CVCM). The collaboration led to the creation of the Cow-Op, a user-friendly online shop where farmers can post produce for sale, and consumers can shop online for pick-up or delivery. While the Co-Op has moved to delivery-only to encourage social distancing, the platform makes it possible for farmers’ to have a reliable local market for their products in spite of the times.

In March and April of 2020, the Cow-op saw demand surge to five times normal volume, requiring some big, quick changes including upgrading infrastructure and hiring more staff to sort and pack food orders. During this time, the Cow-op has been able to add new farms to the co-operative, enabling more farmers to sell their products on the online marketplace.

With your investment, we can scale up this profitable model ensuring farmers continue to have an income and consumers have year-round access to healthy, fresh, and diverse food. All funds will be managed by Community Evolution to provide physical and digital infrastructure expansion, personal protective equipment, health and hygiene trainings, purchase delivery equipment, business development, and allow our community partners to continue their critical work on southern Vancouver Island.

To protect and feed the community, the Cow-Op moved an exclusively online shopping experience, while expanding delivery by bicycle or biodiesel.

Covid-19 has disrupted the business climate, forcing all companies and organizations to think how they will operate during and after the crisis, and how to best serve their communities. Our partner, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace, has identified the need to develop their business capabilities and processes: rethinking sales channels, developing delivery systems, building staff, integrating volunteers, transitioning safety protocols, and keeping members and customers satisfied for continued retention and sustainability in a post-covid-19 context. The road ahead is long, for the Cow-Op and for all our partners, and I need your help.

Paul Zysman

Founder, Community Evolution

Why Community Evolution?

Community Evolution has an impressive five-year history of empowering co-operative, community enterprises to develop, grow and create positive change. During this time, we have partnered with cooperative farming communities, Native salmon fisher co-operatives, community markets and eco-tourism ventures in British Columbia and in South America.

Community Evolution is proud to support our community-based enterprise partners to develop initiatives that strengthen their ability to meet the needs of their communities now, and ensure they will all be there, meeting needs in the future. We hope you will join us.