Vancouver’s Earthsave Canada seeks help with funding woes
A Vancouver-based nonprofit organization that promotes eating a plant-based diet for the environment, health, and animals says it’s in danger of shutting down due to a lack of funding.
Earthsave Canada has already had to postpone its annual vegetarian food fair, Taste of Health, after losing the $30,000 provincial gaming grant it had used as “starting capital” for previous years’ events, according to office manager Carolyn Mill.
Mill told the Georgia Straight that membership fees aren’t enough to keep the charity afloat, so she’s calling for help from potential donors and sponsors.
“I do think that the answer is getting a sponsorship or a good grant from an organization that really believes in promoting a healthier, more environmentally sustainable, compassionate way of life,” Mill said by phone from Earthsave’s office in Mount Pleasant on World Vegetarian Day (October 1).
Established in 1990, Earthsave Canada is an offshoot of the U.S.-based EarthSave Foundation, which was founded in 1988 by Diet for a New America author John Robbins.
In October 2011, Earthsave held its 13th annual Taste of Health at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre. But this year’s unsuccessful application for a community gaming grant means the fair won’t take place in 2012.
“I believe they changed their focus away from environmental orgs and more into other things, so that’s perhaps why we got turned down this year,” Mill said.
Now Earthsave is looking at staging its 14th Taste of Health at the Roundhouse in June 2013, but other venues and dates are on the table.
Earlier this year, the organization, which has over 300 members, created brochures on how to get protein and calcium from plant-based diets. On August 9, Earthsave released an iPhone app based on its directory of local veg-friendly stores and restaurants.
“We have plans to create our own ‘food guide’ and offer new school presentations, as well as a bigger and better vegetarian food fair next year - but we might not make it to next year,” Mill wrote in the fall issue of Canada Earthsaver, the organization’s newsletter. “It would be tragic if Earthsave was downgraded to an online resource only, just when the need for outreach is at its greatest. The world is finally listening to the call for change. We need to be there to support and educate, to inspire and drive that change into action.”
Mill said that she would like to see Earthsave do more to promote Meatless Monday—participants pledge to go meat-free once a week—and help local restaurants add more plant-based options to their menus. Over the past year, the organization has moved away from being a “support group” for vegans and vegetarians toward doing more outreach to omnivores interested in eating more plant-based meals, she noted.
Mill hopes Earthsave members and supporters will step up and help the organization continue to provide a “voice” for the benefits of plant-based diets.