Cowichan Green Community Society, (CGC) is a non-profit organization that has been focusing on environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Region officially since March 2004. Since 2007, CGC’s mandate has revolved mainly around improving food security by developing strong relationships with local food producers and increasing urban and rural food production.
Our mission is to cultivate food, community and resilience.
CGC is a community leader, creating and supporting a future where our foundation is built on health and well-being; our environment, economy and social fabric are resilient, inclusive and vibrant; we celebrate our connection to the earth and to each other; and all persons are valued equally.
CGC is also a hub for social innovation, community engagement and community building; nurturing the relationships between ourselves and our environment. CGC creates positive change through education, regenerative projects, and celebration.
CGC’s Guiding Principles are evident in all of the work that we do: we value inclusion, intention, responsibility, commitment, positive solutions, diversity, collaboration, and environmental reverence.
Our food security projects include the creation of food policy documents such as the Cowichan Food Charter and the Cowichan Food Security Plan, projects like Kin Park Youth Urban Farm, FruitSave – a fruit gleaning project- the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Farm Food Map, and community gardens. We also offer educational workshops, events and organize Duncan’s annual Seedy Saturdays/Sundays to promote the role of rural and urban agriculture in our community’s resilience and sustainability.
Since 2001, CGC has been honoured to have interacted with thousands of people through our many locations and to engage the public through our various outreach projects, media campaigns, school presentations, event booths, community gardens, and workshops. CGC staff, volunteers, and board members assist with fundraising, office and store staffing, community garden projects, workshops, and day-to-day operations. While participating in numerous community meetings and networking with local service providers, CGC’s mantra has been ‘the future of food is growing.’
Currently, CGC’s office and Garden Pantry Thrift Store are located at 360 Duncan Street, in downtown Duncan, BC.
In April, 2015, CGC launched the Cowichan Agriculture Training program. This innovative one year program will provide participants with the opportunity to learn a wide spectrum of ecological agriculture skills and approaches from the soil up. Over the course of the program they will experience hands on training, class time learning, and will also be engaged in local farm placements, which will give them a chance to put their skills into practice while providing support to and learning from our hard working local farmers.
In July, 2014, CGC opened the KinFarm Family Drop-In Centre at KinPark Youth Urban Farm. Part of a two-year grant from Community Action Initiative,the focus of the drop-in is to provide a fun, engaging place to hang out, build community and create a safer park, with local food as an over-arching theme.
In July, 2014, CGC ran the KinPark Kid’s Camp for the very first time during the summer at the KinPark Youth Urban Farm. 65 children ages 6 – 12 attended this day camp to learn about their natural environment and growing food.
In June, 2013, CGC then made a very bold move to purchase the hotel and since that time they have completed rezoned the building into a mixed use residential/commercial, renovated the space, and changed the overall feel and flavor of the neighbourhood.
Check out The Station!
In October, 2012, CGC once again relocated to the old Phoenix Station Motor Inn as tenants on the main floor with an expanded storefront, The Garden Pantry Thrift Store, a larger boardroom and office space.
In the fall of 2009, as staff and program capacities grew, CGC relocated to a larger office space at 181 Station Street, in downtown Duncan. In this fabulous space, CGC opened a new Green Store, a large community space, and a bright and beautiful office. At that location, CGC developed a variety of Social Enterprises, which is used in part to sustain the organization through income generated by the retail store and an urban agriculture consulting business, Ceres Edible Landscaping.
Way Back in 2002
In 2002, CGC moved to 244 Craig Street in Duncan’s City Square and also accepted an invitation to join the Cowichan Community Land Trust Society (CCLT), where it operated as a committee of the CCLT until February 2004. In March of 2004, CGC registered as a BC Society and commenced the process of recruiting and developing a Board of Directors, and to expand its staff base, including the creation of an Executive Director position in 2008. As a result, this change in organizational structure brought new visions, aspirations and opportunities to the organizations, and led to the gradual shift in the types of programs and services offered. Recognizing a need in the community, CGC increasingly began to address issues of food security, through both policy and program based initiatives.
The Beginning, 2001
Cowichan Green Community (CGC) unofficially began in 2001 as an environmental-based community outreach project which was supported by the Green Door Society. CGC opened its first storefront environmental centre at 161 Jubilee Street in Duncan, B.C. CGC’s passionate volunteers then created an informal committee and established CGC’s original mandate: to promote energy efficiency, healthy housing and environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Valley. Financed solely by their efforts, they continued to operate the centre for almost a year.