Eat Local Grey Bruce (ELGB), a not-for-profit cooperative that brings local food to the community is seeking funds and new volunteers to overcome its current financial challenges.
Throughout the pandemic, ELGB took care of the health and safety of staff while getting food to community members, safely in their own homes. In fact, it was voted one of the top 100 recovery projects in Canada by Future of Good.
Sadly, the board has announced to the community that the organization has become insolvent and is preparing to file for bankruptcy, unless they can raise sufficient funds and volunteers to relaunch.
“From the outset, what ELGB has attempted was radical and visionary – to create a local food system that was by and for the community, that tried to be fair, ecological, and delicious. During the pandemic, we saw explosive growth – 100% in a single week – which was extremely difficult for a small, dedicated group of board members and staff to manage,” explained Kristine Hammel, who has been involved with ELGB over the last six years.
Last April, the group saw an unexpected warehouse relocation which increased operating costs, and which also meant that the board and staff could not prepare for the post-pandemic reality; sales have plummeted since spring, not just at Eat Local but across Ontario for local farmers.
In order to keep their doors open, ELGB is asking for three things: new volunteers to bring energy to the organization, a pledge from community members to make regular purchases to help keep revenue coming in, and an injection of cash to help pay off pressing debts. They are currently running a fundraising campaign asking for $115,000.
The ELGB board of directors already has three new members that are bringing new ideas to the organization. “While the circumstances aren’t ideal, I’m excited to be joining the board for Eat Local Grey Bruce because I strongly believe in their model, their ideals, and their vision,” said Kel Smith, the newest consumer member to the board. “Connecting local ecological farmers directly to consumers helps build and grow community resilience which I firmly believe is needed now more than ever. Eat Local offers a solution that is grounded in community. I hope others in our community across Grey and Bruce counties understand this value and help keep the organization alive.”
While the fundraiser is taking place, the board, staff, and members are working diligently to imagine a more lean, efficient Eat Local Grey Bruce. There’s no shortage of ideas about how the organization could grow, and if the group believes that they will meet their all-or-nothing fundraising campaign, they plan to host a community visioning event to really engage with the members and wider public.
You can learn more about Eat Local Grey Bruce, the fundraising campaign, and support opportunities at https://igg.me/at/elgb.