Two B.C. co-ops win $25,000 in The National Co-op Challenge

TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Co-operators announced today that Cedar Opportunities Cooperative of Nanaimo and Victory Gardens Co-op of Vancouver have each won $25,000 as the Western Region winners of The National Co-op Challenge.

The social media contest showcased 16 emerging co-operatives, with four finalists selected in each of four regions across Canada. Each finalist produced a short video about their co-op, how it benefits their community and the projects that would be supported with the prize money. The public was given the power to choose the winners in each region by voting for their favourites either on Facebook or a contest microsite, from September 18 to October 18.

"All of the contestants are small and emerging locally owned and controlled co-operatives that respond to needs in their communities," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "They mirror the diversity of the co-op sector in Canada, showing that there are values-based alternatives driven not by profit, but by a desire to serve their members and promote a more fair, equitable and inclusive society. Congratulations to all!"

Cedar Opportunities Cooperative was founded by a group of families in the Nanaimo area who have adult children with developmental disabilities. The co-operative and its COCO Café provide meaningful employment and work experience for local teens and adults with developmental disabilities. The prize money will be used to support the expansion of the café, including the leasing of additional space, a redesign, new equipment and a new website.

Victory Gardens Co-op a worker co-op consisting of urban farmers for hire who transform residential and commercial spaces into urban gardens in Vancouver. Through the development of infrastructure, education and maintenance, Victory Gardens enables people to grow food in all types of environments while limiting their environmental impact, supporting the local economy and being part of the movement toward new sustainable food systems. The funding will be used for an online educational video series to help Canadians grow their own food.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $33 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE: The Co-operators

For further information:

Leonard Sharman
The Co-operators
519-767-3937


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