Our Mission, Our Vision, Our Values
Cowichan Green Community Society, (CGC) is a non-profit organization that has been focusing on environmental sustainability in the Cowichan Region since March 2004. CGC’s mandate is to improve food security by developing strong relationships with local food producers, increasing capacity for local food production (both urban and rural), and empowering people with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to feed their community.
Our Vision and Purpose:
We envision a food secure Cowichan nourished by celebrating our connection to food, to our environment and to each other. Cowichan Green Community (CGC) cultivates resilient, inclusive and healthy local food systems and vibrant social fabric.
Our mission is to cultivate food, community and resilience.
CGC is a community leader, creating a future where our foundation is built on health and well-being; our environment, economy and social fabric are resilient and inclusive; where we celebrate our connection to the earth and to each other.
CGC is also a hub for social innovation, community engagement and community building. 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, 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, a Food Recovery Project to re-distribute excess grocery store produce, FruitSave – a fruit gleaning project – , the Cowichan Grown Farm Map, the Garden Education Centre, and several community gardens. We also offer educational workshops, events and organize Duncan’s annual Seedy Sundays to promote the role of agriculture in our community.
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 reFRESH Store are located at 360 Duncan Street, in downtown Duncan, BC.
Garden Pantry Thrift Store
In October, 2012, CGC once again relocated to the old Phoenix Station Motor Inn as tenants on the main floor with an expanded storefront, a larger boardroom and office space.
Social Enterprise & Green Store
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 Cowichan Green Community is Born
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.