Canadians waste a staggering $31 billion of food each year, and it’s estimated that less than two thirds of the food that is produced worldwide is actually consumed. Waste can occur at every stage of the production process before the food gets to our table. Foodsharing Ottawa equates the lost water from food waste in North America to leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion litres of water down the drain.
Equally unsettling is the fact that more than half of food waste occurs after it’s purchased by us. While many regions throughout Canada and the world struggle with food insecurity, vast amounts of perfectly edible, nutritious and healthy food still end up in Canadian landfills. The financial and environmental implications of food waste are hefty, with taxpayers spending nearly $5 million a year disposing of non-composted food waste.
Foodsharing Ottawa, JustChange’s most recent grantwinner, is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization working to combat food waste and counteract its negative effects on communities and the environment. With a mission to empower people to be the change they want to see in the world by letting them participate in rescuing and sharing food, Foodsharing Ottawa has undertaken an ambitious new project to bring a community fridge to an Ottawa neighbourhood. A prime example of foodsharing, the community fridge would bring attention to the issue of food waste, help those who need the food and create a sense of community around the local area.
Join us in celebrating Foodsharing Ottawa at JustDrinks on Tuesday, November 7, 6pm-8pm at the Atomic Rooster. Let us know you’re coming!
It is estimated that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or pregnancy loss in their lives. Although it is so prevalent, it’s not often talked about, leaving many families to experience their grief in isolation. The stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss is profound and an additional source of pain during an already devastating time. While support exists, programs are often relatively unknown and can be hard to access. And medical treatment during miscarriage and stillbirth tend to focus on physical rather than emotional treatment.
JustChange’s recent grant winner, Butterfly Box, is a platform for growing awareness and busting the stigma and taboo around pregnancy and infant loss. Butterfly Boxes contain thoughtful items and information resources and are delivered to bereaved families to support them through their grief journey. The Butterfly Boxes also engage the community in dialogue. Handwritten sympathy cards included in the box help bereaved families know their community cares about them and their experiences. Recipients of the boxes are invited to share their experiences through a story card, which will then be displayed during October 2018, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.
Butterfly Box is a partnership between Mom Friends, an organization that creates postpartum care kits for women, and Aaron’s Butterfly Run, a volunteer-led group raising money and awareness for perinatal and infant loss in Ottawa. The JustChange grant will enable Mom Friends and Aaron’s Butterfly Run to develop the first series of Butterfly Boxes to help grieving Ottawa families.
Come and celebrate Butterfly Box at JustDrinks: Heart and Crown Byward Market on September 19, 7-9pm.
We are thrilled to announce our latest JustChange grantee – Locall.
Locall aims to find innovative solutions for newcomers (immigrants and refugees) seeking to integrate into Canada, but who face challenges with language barriers.
In essence, they have designed, tested and developed an incredible mobile application that attempts to tap into Arabic-speaking Canadians across the country who wish to support those who have just recently landed in Canada.
With the tap of a button via the Locall smartphone app, Arabic-speaking refugees and immigrants are immediately matched to interpreters based on availability, sex, age, and Arabic dialect to help them resolve day-to-day challenges outside of medical, legal/financial and emergency appointments. To protect the privacy of both the refugee and interpreter, calls will only be made through this app and access can only be obtained through access codes from settlement agencies/sponsor families.
As Locall states, “our idea is simple: instead of having newcomers rely on translation applications that often get used out of context, we wish to connect the refugees with the long list of “Localls” who have voluntarily signed up to interpret for newcomers. A mere conversation with a local who can help with interpretation, immediately and at no cost, can go a long way for those who need help with integrating into a new community.”
Locall has already completed extensive consultations with key stakeholders, as well as having already completed their first trial run with community members and refugees to test out the concept. Their next stage, using JustChange funds, will be to scale up into a fully fledged app, with website, and get it up and running for the better part of a year to test its sustainability and growth.
If you are interested in hearing from them about their project, please join JustChange and Locall at the Common Eatery at 6:00pm for #JustDrinks on June 13th 2017.
JustChange is happy to announce the winner of this month’s micro-grant, EthicalTree. Siavash and Frank co-founded EthicalTree because, as ethically-oriented consumers themselves, they found it very difficult to find businesses that aligned with their values.
According to EthicalTree, research has shown that 33% of Canadians are either vegetarian or consciously reducing their meat consumption, that 58% of Canadians buy organic products every week, and that at least 31% of Canadians say that Fair Trade certification has a high or very high influence on their buying. As such, their goal is to make it easier for consumers to find local businesses that align with their specific ethical values, whatever those may be – vegan, fair trade, organic, woman-owned, eco-friendly, and more.
Hence EthicalTree, the Ottawa-based “Yelp” of ethical consumers – a free online directory where users can search for local businesses based on the ethical values that matter to them. Users can currently filter local business searches to see only vegetarian-friendly, Fair Trade-friendly, Organic-friendly, or women-owned businesses, and we plan to add more ethical criteria, such as Halal, Sweatshop-free, and Eco-friendly, as we go forward.
Making it easier for consumers to purchase ethical products empowers people to make purchasing decisions that have positive social and environmental impacts on their city and the world, whether that means reducing suffering to animals, lowering carbon emissions, supporting producers with fair wages, or encouraging young women in entrepreneurship. As we make it easier for consumers to support causes they care about with their dollars, they will shape Ottawa’s business ecosystem into a more ethically-oriented one.
Now that EthicalTree is up and running, it’s all about marketing and encouraging more consumers to use EthicalTree. With this new support from JustChange, EthicalTree will host a Street Market at the University of Ottawa, where local businesses can sell ethically-sourced goods to ethically-oriented consumers on campus, as well as grow and expand on the website. As such, we invite you all to join us on April 11
As such, we invite you all to join us on April 11 at Café Nostalgica from 6:30pm – 8:00pm to celebrate giving, EthicalTree and of course, great conversation.
The JustChange Ottawa board is excited to announce that the latest $1,000 grant is going to Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls, an organization that uses music as a vehicle for empowerment for self-identifying girls. Their flagship event is a rock camp where participants learn an instrument, join a band, and showcase their achievements at a concert. They also host monthly jam sessions, where girls have access to studio space to practice their music.
Tiffanie Tri, one of Rock Camp’s leaders, explains how their project seeks to empower girls through music. “We create a safe space for girls of all economic means and races so that they can build self-confidence. We are always looking for ways to reduce barriers to access to learning and playing music.” Their newest project aims to do just that.
The JustChange grant will go towards setting up a new music instrument library and jam space. “The goal is to increase our reach and impact in the community,” Tri explains. “We want to improve access to instruments and studio space, and maybe even introduce a new venue for our Rock Camp.”
Ultimately, Rock Camp for Girls wants to increase diversity and inclusion in the Ottawa music scene. And to that we say “rock on!”
The Rock Camp for Girls team is passionate about their project, and they want to tell you all about. Come learn more and ‘jam’ with us at JustDrinks this Thursday, February 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pressed Cafe, 750 Gladstone Ave.
Empower’em President and Founder, Nayaelah Siddiqui, understands there is a growing lack of self-confidence in Muslim women, which needs to be addressed.
According to the Environics Survey of Muslims in Canada (2016), one of the top issues facing Canadian Muslims is how they are perceived by the larger, mainstream society. One-third (33%) of non-Muslim Canadians have a generally negative view of Islam. Moreover, Statistics Canada has noted that hate crimes against Canadian Muslims have doubled over the last three years. Muslim women, particularly those who are visibly Muslim due to the distinguished “hijab” or headscarf they wear, are the most frequent targets of hateful demonstrations that are manifested in numerous ways, including exclusion from mainstream society.
In the absence of strong support networks, these issues may lead to a lack of self-confidence, identity, and Canadian pride if they are left unaddressed; further discouraging young women from fully thriving in their communities and hindering their ability to contribute in positive ways to enrich Canadian society.
This is why JustChange is proud to support Empowerem’s main objective of boosting self-confidence in women by empowering them in four key areas of development.
- Skills Development
- Spirituality and;
- Outreach/Community involvement
These four objectives help with empowering young women better enabling them to become more informed, engaged and civically active so that they can become positive forces in their communities, in Ottawa, and by extension the wider Canadian society. For example, through Skills Development, Empower’em provides workshops on car management (like how to change a tire or boost a car). Another example via the Outreach objective, they aim to start “Quilt for them.” This initiative will not only involve young women learning skills (e.g., sewing), but also paved a way for them to have a positive impact in the communities they live in. Women can start projects that they are most passionate about with like-minded people which would lead to a stronger and more collective effort in community projects.
You can learn more about Empower’em at their website here: http://empowerem.ca/ and join us for #JustDrinks on December 15th 2016 at 6:30pm at the Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs at 1013 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 2Y1 to celebrate this incredible Ottawa-based initiative.