Co-creators of Tree Island Yogurt, Merissa Myles and her husband Scott DiGuistini make grass-fed, artisan yogurt at their production plant in the Comox Valley, BC. They’ve earned a reputation as champions of the local food movement—while also shifting the thinking of farmers, retailers, and even the Ministry of Agriculture.
Tree Island uses 100% fresh whole Canadian milk, and is committed to supporting local, grass-fed dairy farms with pastures that promote healthy ecosystems. In short, Merissa and Scott have built a business that is itself a powerful tool for change.
There is a lot of choice in yogurt on grocers’ shelves, but very few guarantee their milk comes from Canada or from grass-fed sources. Scott is proud to say “We are an early innovator—and one of very few. We only use fresh, whole milk in our recipes; there are no foreign milk powders or fillers. It’s very important for us to be part of the food movement and support local farmers.” This is the first shift Tree Island has contributed to making—increasing awareness and demand for Canadian, grass-fed milk. In the four years since they entered the market, yogurt made from fresh, grass-fed milk has gone from zero to be an established line in many local stores.
Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Merissa Myles & Scott DiGuistini
Meghan French Dunbar’s mission in life is to inspire and educate people on how business can be used as a force for good. Her ultimate goal? In 20 years, nobody will say “purpose-driven work” or “conscious business” or “sustainable business,” because doing good business will be the new ‘business as usual.’
As Co founder and Editor in Chieftess of Conscious Company Magazine, Meghan oversees the production of this nationally distributed publication that focuses solely on sustainable business and business as a force for good. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the magazine hit the shelves in January 2015, and is now in every US state, Canada and Mexico, and is quickly becoming a leading source of information for and about sustainable businesses.
Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Meghan French Dunbar
By Joel Solomon
Just past the end of the gravel road, at the end of the highway, on the left coast of the continent, across a short body of water, is a place where I was fortunate to find myself. There are many sacred places on the planet. In fact, the whole planet underneath what humans have built, changed and affected over time, is sacred. However, at this time in history, places like I have just described have special qualities that still are radiant and can be felt. That is the geography of Hollyhock, and I consider it a very unique one.
North of Hollyhock and the end of that road is one of the few remaining vast, natural areas on the planet that is still relatively intact. Indigenous people on their land live better here than in most places in the world. In this area, there remains the possibility of a great, green place, with large species and vast areas that are underdeveloped by humans. Continue reading A Story of Hollyhock
By Richard Littlemore via BC Business
Feature Image by Peter Holst
While he’s best known as the money behind Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Joel Solomon has been quietly building a reputation as one of the city’s smartest financiers
The 180-degree outlook from Joel Solomon’s 10th-floor patio deck is a perfect metaphor for his complicated and sometimes controversial world view. Solomon’s condo is in Railtown, boxed between the tracks along the Vancouver harbour and some boarded-up, light-industrial spaces in what is inevitably known as Canada’s poorest neighbourhood. But the view is spectacular. Directly to the north lies the brightly lit Meccano-land of Port Metro Vancouver—strangely beautiful, especially at night. The giant cranes are constantly in motion, sweeping and dancing, loading and stacking steel containers like so many colourful blocks—all in the service of what Solomon describes as “shipping off rocks that come back as televisions.”
Look past the port and your eyes are caught by the sparkle of lights on snow, on Grouse Mountain and Cypress. And to the left, there is the twinkling lace of yet more lights on the Lions Gate Bridge. Continue reading Joel Solomon: The Conscientious Capitalist
“If you’re conscious at all about what’s going on in the world and the changes that are needed, it’s obvious to me that business has a tremendous role to play in the transformation to a more equitable, social and environmental world.”
That’s what gets Christopher Roy out of bed every morning. Christopher runs Marketworks, his own consulting agency that provides digital marketing for a growing number of businesses that consider societal benefits, social change and environmental sustainability to be essential parts of their business offering. His clients are the kinds of enterprises that are doing business differently, operating more in relationship with the natural world, lead by people putting social and environmental benefits ahead of profit. “That’s pretty powerful to me,” he says, with a wise twinkle in his eye.
Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Christopher Roy