April 2011

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In this Issue

Profile: Ménsa/Mawsootan Harvesting & Marketing Co-operative

Northern Saskatchewan is home to a natural resource with a large and growing global demand. In this case, consumer interest has not been piqued by oil or potash; this crop is much more delicious. The demand for Saskatchewan wild blue berries is strong, but the challenge of distribution and transportation remains. That’s where the Ménsa/Mawsootan Harvesting & Marketing Co-operative (MMHMC) comes in. MMHMC was incorporated in March 2011 with the purpose of bringing fair trade practices to the harvesting and sale of berries in Northern Saskatchewan.

To accomplish this, MMHMC will build a purchasing depot in the Green Lake community that will become a central berry repository and distribution centre, and will hire 8-10 local employees. The depot will also house machinery to dry and powder the berries, which allows the Co-op to produce less perishable products and ship them out for 10% of the cost of transporting raw berries. Meanwhile, “local, national, and international markets are being explored,” for value-added products, as well as fresh and frozen berry distribution. In the long term, “We hope to retain control over the entire value chain,” says Ric. The Co-op is hoping to develop nutritional products made of dried berries, as well as jams and desserts, which will ensure greater and more direct economic benefits for regional residents.

Blueberries have played an integral role in northern diets and economies for generations. However, the harvest and sale of berries is generally unorganized and informal, which means that many berry harvesters are underpaid and subjected to exploitative practices. Moreover, economic development opportunities are scarce in many of these isolated communities. These poor economic conditions have combined to create rampant poverty with an unemployment rate that hovers at 80% in Northern Saskatchewan.

Fortunately, MMHMC is offering an innovative business model that builds on the traditional knowledge and skills of the estimated thousands of local berry harvesters. “We are trying to develop something in the region that has local control and local benefit,” says Ric. By adopting a co-operative model, MMHMC can more easily remain committed to its goals of creating widespread economic benefit, and ensuring that harvesters are fairly compensated for their work.

“We see a lack of pride being one of the problems coming from multigenerational poverty,” Ric continues. In an effort to ameliorate this communal challenge, MMHMC has developed a strong cultural preservation component. He calls it “using traditional values and knowledge in a modern economy.”

And MMHMC’s timing could not be better, as the global health food markets continue to grow. It seems that the rest of the world is only beginning to catch on to what northern communities have known for centuries; “Blueberries are rightly described as a super food,” says Ric.

Although the growing season is short – it typically runs from July to early September - the benefits of MMHMC’s fair trade purchasing policies will be felt all year long. As a socio-economic enterprise that is culturally, environmentally, and economically sustainable, MMHMC is a perfect, and creative, example of community economic development in action.

For more information, contact Ric Richardson at r.richardson@sasktel.net

Canadian CED Network News

Vote for Communities with CCEDNet’s 2011 Election Resource Guide

CCEDNet has created a one-stop-shop for federal election resources. This accessible Guide includes fact sheets, blogs, articles and questionnaires from nearly a dozen organizations across the country to help inform you of the issues that matter to Canadian communities this election. You will also find letters for candidates and a list of questions that we encourage you to submit to your local candidates to see where they stand on building fair, strong, and sustainable Canadian communities.

Visit the page

Meet our Members

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc.

IRCOM is a non-profit organization that operates a 5 storey transitional housing complex in downtown Winnipeg called IRCOM House. IRCOM House offers secure, affordable and clean 2 and 3 bedroom apartments to newcomers for up to 3 years after their arrival. IRCOM also provides onsite supports and services including an After-School Program, a Community Resource Program, and a Newcomer Literacy Initiative.

Visit their website

North End Community Renewal Corp.

NECRC is committed to the social, economic and cultural renewal of the North End of Winnipeg. The corporation works with community committees to plan and implement development strategies in its goal to revitalize the North End. Their work is centred around seven themes: housing, employment, culture and diversity, community, safety, economic and recreation and wellness.

Visit their website

The CCEDNet Channel - Featured Video

HAVE Culinary Training Video

H.A.V.E. Culinary Training is a social enterprise in the downtown eastside of Vancouver that is dedicated to developing job and life skills in its students. Students are selected based on need and put through an 8-week culinary training curriculum. For practical experience, students prepare the meals served to the customer at H.A.V.E. Café.

Watch the video

Amendments to Co-ops Act to Encourage Next-Generation of Co-ops

The Manitoba Government is proposing amendments to the Co-operatives Act that would make it easier to start innovative co-ops that make a difference for families and communities. The amendments would allow groups that normally form separate co-ops, such as workers and consumers, to combine their resources to create a co-op together. The proposed changes come out of a multi-year strategy developed in partnership with the co-op sector.

Read more

CCEDNet - Manitoba is excited to help promote this decision, as it relates directly to our Multi-Stakeholder Co-op Legislation Resolution, which calls on us to urge the Province to amend the Manitoba Cooperatives Act and allow for the creation of multi-stakeholder co-ops in Manitoba.

Province Announces 2 Year Plan for Non-Profits

Earlier this month, Premier Selinger outlined a strategy to help cut red tape and make it easier for non-profits to provide services to Manitobans. The plan takes a four-pronged approach: Piloting multi-year, multi-program funding; Launching a single-window application process and a target of spring 2012 for an online non profit web portal; Streamlining reporting requirements for organizations dealing with multiple provincial programs; Helping organizations save money by sharing services such as legal, human resources and accounting functions with other organizations.

Read more

CCEDNet is excited to see this initiatve announced as our members and many other non-profits have long identified the need for longer term, more streamlined, and stabilized funding. Download The Importance of Policy in CED, in which we call for multi-year funding for non-profits, to learn more.

Manitoba CED News

New Home from Our Home Kikinaw

Our Home Kikinaw, a plan similar to that of Habitat for Humanity, has housed their first family as of April 1st, 2011. This Thompson-based project has a goal to build five homes in five years. Construction takes place year round.

Click here to read about the first success story

(Source: www.thompsoncitizen.net)

New L’Arche Cafe to Open in Transcona

The L’Arche Winnipeg community is developing a social enterprise café in Transcona. The Café will offer nourishing and wholesome breakfasts and lunches to the public. The Café will also host a day program and serve as a training space for people with developmental disabilities.

In the development of this project, the café has formulated a survey of six questions to help narrow down menu selection, operating hours and prices.

Take the survey here

L’Arche is also looking for a Cafe Manager. Click here to view the job posting

Fast Facts calls for Fast Action on Affordable Housing

In this issue of CCPA’s Fast Facts, Sarah Cooper calls on the City of Winnipeg to increase its actions and support in addressing the city’s dire lack of affordable housing. This piece was written in response to the City’s recent recommendation to transfer $500,000 from the Housing Rehabilitation Investment Reserve (HRIR) to the Home Renovation Tax Assistance Program. Sarah writes, “Although the recommendation was not passed, this move calls attention to the vulnerability of the funding intended to support housing rehabilitation and development in Winnipeg’s inner city.”

Click here to read the full article

(Source: FAST FACTS by Sarah Cooper)

Social Enterprise Tax Credit in Manitoba

To help promote CED and to assist Manitobans facing barriers to employment, the 30% Neighbourhoods Alive! Tax Credit has been introduced. This unique and innovative tax credit encourages corporations with a permanent establishment in Manitoba to support and work with charitable organizations to establish new social enterprises in Manitoba.

CCEDNet is pleased to see action being taken to promote and foster the growth of social enterprises in Manitoba. Social enterprises are key component of CED as they use business models to build fairer and stronger local economies, create jobs and important community services, reduce poverty and renew communities, and create more sustainable environments.

Read CCEDNet - Manitoba's Social Enterprise Animation Policy Resolution

From Sweets to Veggies with Healthy Schools Program

The Province recently announced that they will continuing partnering with Peak of the Market and Manitoba Association of Home Economists to offer the Healthy Schools initiative. The program is designed to promote the physical, emotional and social health of Manitoban schools communities. The program will allow students to raise money for their schools by selling bundles of Manitoba-grown vegetables that will be delivered in recyclable shopping bags.

Read more

This annoucement directly benefits one of CCEDNet - Manitoba's mandates to promote local and sustainable food procurement (read our policy resolution here).

ANAK Publishing Worker Cooperative - Filipino Youth Bridging The Gap

ANAK Publishing Worker Cooperative Ltd., will be launching 2 books in May 2011. Both works are based on oral history interviews collected from the Filipino-Canadian community in Winnipeg. The first book From Manila to Manitoba, celebrates the 50 year history of Filipino-Canadian community in Winnipeg. The second publication is a cookbook containing regional Filipino recipes, ethnographies, and personal narratives of the community's flourishing restaurant and bakery industry. ANAK Publishing aims to fill the gap that exists for Filipino-Canadian works in Canada.

To learn more about ANAK Publishing, check out Chris McCarville's latest video.

Read more

(Source: CWCF April Newsletter)

CED Tool: The Community Tool Box

 The Community Tool Box is a global resource for free information on essential skills for building healthy communities. It offers more than 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating change and improvement. The page linked to below lists 46 Chapters through which you can reach nearly 300 different sections providing practical, step-by-step guidance in community-building skills. Other tools can be located from the purple tabs at the top of the page.

Visit the Community Tool Box

National CED News

Public Policy Profiles Profile Paper Series

The Canadian Social Economy Hub and the Canadian Social Economy Research Partnerships have produced a Public Policy Profile Paper Series. Each Profile highlights a federal, provincial, or municipal policy, describes how it contributes to building a people-centred economy, and provides analysis of the policy’s strengths and weaknesses. Three of the ten Profiles include:

  • Manitoba’s CED Policy Framework (pdf): Commits the Government of Manitoba to sustaining a political structure, a policy framework and lens, and a funding program dedicated to CED.
  • The Montreal Social Economy Plan (pdf): Consolidate actions and increase the City’s support for Social Economy enterprises, in particular by calling on their services or involving them more regularly.
  • Ontario’s Social Venture Fund (pdf): Designed to help “find innovative solutions to difficult social problems and improve social outcomes” by improving access to new sources of capital for entities doing ‘social purpose’ work

The Keg Thanks a Million Anniversary Donation

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Keg is giving away $1,000,000 in 40 x $25,000 grants to support community-based projects in cities where Keg restaurants are located. They are currently accepting applications for projects that are directly helping local communities.

Submission dealine for applicaitons is April 30th, 2011. You can vote for your favorite project until May 16th, 2011

Learn more

Social Enterprise: Another Tool, Not the Solution!

Vantage Point’s recent ‘Policy Change and the Non-Profit Sector’ themed newsletter includes an excellent article by enp’s David LePage, titled ‘Social Enterprise: Another Tool, Not the Solution!’ In the article, David offers a sobering analysis of the burgeoning social enterprise sector. Rather than replacing government-led community development or charity models, David sees social enterprises as “a tool for non-profits” that must be used through collaborative efforts with other stakeholders to create healthy and sustainable communities.

Read the full article

North American Worker Co-op Conference Co-operation Without Borders

On October 13-15, 2011 the first ever North America-wide Worker Co-op Conference, "Co-operation without Borders," will take place in Quebec City. Confirmed presenters include Amy Goodman, well-known New York-based investigative journalist and founder of Democracy Now!, Bruno Roelants of the international Federation CICOPA, Melissa Hoover, Executive Director of the US Federation, and Mikel Lezamiz of Mondragon.

Read more

(Source: CWCF April Newsletter)

Finance Minister for a Day

From corporate tax cuts to seniors benefits, everyone on Parliament Hill seems to think they know what should be in the budget. But can you do better? The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has developed an interactive budget tool based on their Alternative Federal Budget where yoou can choose the programs you think are important. Watch out though, budget choices have consequences. With every program or taxation change comes an effect on the deficit and unemployment.

How will your budget look? Once you've perfected it, you can share your budget with friends on Facebook, Twitter or by email.

Start budgeting

CED Book Club - Good Places to Live: Poverty and Public Housing in Canada







Cities across Canada have used negative stereotypes on public housing projects to justify their demolition, without providing an affordable alternative for displaced residents. In Good Places to Live, Jim Silver argues that the problems with which it is so often associated are not inherent to public housing but are the result of structural inequalities and neoliberal government policies. Silver contends that public housing projects can be good places to live — if the political will exists.

Read more

Job Postings

For the latest CED postings visit the National and Regional job pages on CCEDNet's website

National | AB | SK | MB | North

Positions to post? Send them to breimer@ccednet-rcdec.ca

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