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.
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Mary Waldner had been sick most of her life without knowing why. When she was finally diagnosed with Celiac disease in 1994, it was a life-changing relief—and was soon to be the ‘aha moment’ that sparked an entrepreneurial journey.
“I developed a cracker recipe for myself so that I could have something to eat, especially when going out. And then I saw other people eating them and I watched how much they loved them!”
So in 2004, not knowing she was going to hit the wave of consciousness that was beginning to sweep the food industry and consumers, Mary launched her company. Since then, poetically, “it’s taken off like crazy!” Today, Mary’s Gone Crackers ships its organic and vegan crackers, cookies and pretzels across the US from their plant in California, and north to Canada. Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Mary Waldner
Carla Heim works with social entrepreneurs in BC to provide the tools and funding to grow their businesses. She knows that entrepreneurs can hit the limits of their skills and capacity, and her passion lies in helping them push through those challenges.
Carla is a Senior Account Manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Along with her colleagues, she supports social entrepreneurs not only with capital, but also with planning, certification, operational systems and more.
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Via Junxion. This and other ‘Impact Bio’s’ will profile the leaders and leading thinkers who attend this year’s Social Venture Institute conferences.
Sonia Strobel’s father-in-law, Otto Strobel, has been fishing the British Columbia coast since the 1960s. He’s seen the number of independent fishing vessels like his reduced to a skeleton fleet. Sonia and her husband Shaun started Skipper Otto’s Community Supported Fishery (CSF) to make it possible for Otto and a few of the hold-out independents to continue fishing.
Skipper Otto’s CSF was the first CSF in Canada, and among the first in the world. It now supports a growing number of fishing families and provides an ever-growing number of sustainable, wild, local seafood products to customers across western Canada.
Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Sonia Strobel