Taking care of Mother Nature is everyone’s responsibility; a task that can seem daunting in the midst of our busy lives. Respect for the Earth and All People (REAP) is an organization that is showing Calgarians just how simple taking care of our planet can be. A non-profit association for locally owned business that care about the community and the planet, REAP demonstrates that businesses can make a fair profit while contributing to healthy and prosperous communities. Its latest undertaking, the Community Orchards project, is a collaboration between REAP and Enactus Calgary.
It began in 2012 when The Naaco Truck asked REAP for assistance planting 50 trees in order to cut the carbon emissions of its mobile food business. REAP suggested that The Naaco Truck donate fruit bearing trees in certain areas of the city to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and food insecurity while beautifying public spaces.
In the spring of 2013, with the help of International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone and Greengate Garden Centres, four community orchards were planted in the greater Forest Lawn area in Calgary.
When REAP shared the story of The Naaco Truck’s donation with other businesses in the network, more local businesses wanted to help. Leela Eco Spa & Studio, Conscious Brands, Nya Sustainability Consulting, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Yummi Yogis added to the donations by The Naaco Truck and Greengate Garden Centres, tripling the size of the program in just two years!
With limited resources to manage complex site approvals and multiple stakeholders, REAP reached out to Enactus Calgary for help. This University of Calgary chapter of Enactus Worldwide – a community of 60,000 student, academic and business leaders enabling sustainable progress through entrepreneurial action – agreed to a 5-year partnership to bring the project to its full potential.
Now with environmental and social impact reporting, strategic community partnerships with the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and Grow Calgary, and a student support team, REAP and Enactus Calgary are harnessing the generosity of local businesses to create lasting community assets.
Volunteers from REAP and Enactus Calgary will come together on Sunday, August 9th at two Calgary Homeless Foundation locations to plant the 75 orchard trees donated by REAP businesses. Acadia Community Garden and Art Society and Grow Calgary will also be receiving an additional 75 plants, to be planted the same day.
For more information about the Community Orchards or to find out how you can participate, contact Stephanie Jackman, Founder & President of REAP Business Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org.