Last night we had the privilege of attending the South Eastman Transition Initiative‘s Spring Supper in Steinbach. It served as a wonderful reminder of the value of community and local food, and it raised money for Fruit Share Steinbach, a local non-profit.
Fruit Share exemplifies a number of Green values: cooperation, efficiency, local food, and caring for communities, to name a few. It is a local non-profit organization that specializes in connecting people who have fruit trees but aren’t able to pick or use all of the fruit with people who are willing to pick it for them. Fruit Share then splits the fruit three ways: 1/3 for the owner, 1/3 for the pickers, and 1/3 goes to local charities; they even make sure to compost the waste. Last year they connected 150 volunteers with 49 fruit owners and donated to 15 different local organizations! Fruit Share also works to educate fruit owners about the value of their fruit trees and ways to use the fruit, with information and instruction on how to process and preserve the fruit.
SETI (South Eastman Transition Initiative) is another fantastic organization that exemplifies Green values. They serve as a community of shared knowledge and resources to help themselves and their communities to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle, running reskilling workshops (my wife Andrea is leading one on fermenting foods next weekend), documentary screenings, a weekly newspaper column, garden tours, regular “Green Drinks” gatherings, and more. I first joined SETI about five years ago, attending a viewing of the documentary Food Inc. Over time I began to get more involved, writing for the Rethinking Lifestyles column in the Carillon and joining the public policy committee, which makes policy suggestions at a municipal and provincial level to encourage governments toward more sustainable initiatives.
As I grew more interested and involved in politics, my engagement with SETI decreased as my engagement with the Green Party increased. I often regret that: SETI is still a very important organization to me, and helped to form me in my commitment to a more sustainable lifestyle and a more sustainable politics. SETI is a non-partisan organization, so they go out of their way to promote sustainability connecting it to any other banner; they recognize that people of all political stripes care about sustainability, and don’t want to limit their impact by unnecessarily aligning themselves with one party. In spite of the fact that I would love the political support of a group like SETI, I love that they’re non-partisan. In fact, I think this is one of the features of SETI that exemplifies Green values. Putting aside differences to work with as many people as possible toward a more sustainable future is at the core of the Green understanding of what Parliament is supposed to be about, and SETI serves as an example of what it could be: a group of Canadians working together for the benefit of us all. So while SETI isn’t linked to the Green Party in any way (other than an overlap of members, like me!), I see them as an incredible ally who is able to reach people that the Green Party may not be able to reach, and give people practical skills to continue moving us toward sustainability on an individual level even when partisan politics in Ottawa prevent us from moving in that direction as a society.
So thank you, South Eastman Transition Initiative and Fruit Share Steinbach, for your service to your community and your ecosystem. You are inspirations, and great resources! Oh, and that supper last night was delicious.