CCEDNet’s Guide to Ethical Purchasing in Manitoba

July 15, 2013

Become a Change Maker

CCEDNet’s Guide to Ethical Purchasing in Manitoba

Spend Local & Build Community

Over the years, countless people have approached CCEDNet to find out how they can get involved in building safer, stronger, more resilient communities. For some people, finding an exciting non-profit volunteer position through Spark might do the trick. But for those of us without the time or expertise to volunteer, a simple shift in spending habits can help support your community and make positive impacts in someone’s life.
To that end, CCEDNet-Manitoba has compiled a convenient guide to help you become a change maker. Whether calling for pest control or buying freshly baked bread, Manitoba is home to dozens of social enterprises and local initiatives that are providing meaningful employment and training opportunities and building stronger communities. Read below for some examples, and learn more about each organization and their contact information by clicking its name.

Diversity Foods  is a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg’s Community Renewal Corporation and SEED Winnipeg. It is designed to serve up delicious and locally-sourced food, all while offering meaningful employment opportunities to inner-city residents. In addition to the U of W campus restaurant, Diversity also offers a catering service, so call them for your next meeting, gathering or party.

Fruit Share is a volunteer-led organization that will come pick your fruit and share the yield between yourself, themselves, and community groups. Started in 2010, the initiative is now active in several Manitoba communities, working to eliminate wasted fruit and foster a greater sense of community. If you have more fruit in your yard than you know what to do with, give Fruit Share a call, and know that it will be put to productive use.

L’Arche Tova Cafe offers you a delicious meal and makes known the gifts of people with developmental disabilities. It was established as social enterprise in 2012, and has since encouraged the public to interact with and get to know a person with a disability over a cup of coffee, thus fostering greater levels of inclusion and equality. Also keep L’Arche Tova Cafe in mind for your future catering needs.

Soup Bee is a non-profit social enterprise operated by the West Broadway Community Organization that offers two delicious gourmet soups each week (one vegetarian and one with meat). Soups are prepared in such a way that provides supportive employment opportunities to Winnipeg’s downtown/core area; the program promotes local food security and environmental sustainability.

Sam’s Place is a socially conscious bookstore and coffee house, catering service, and a local venue for music and artists. The organization’s mission is to provide the Elmwood neighbourhood in Winnipeg with an inclusive multicultural meeting place, working to promote social justice, education and change.

Immigrant Integration & Farming Co-operative began its main operation, the Rainbow Community Gardens, in 2008. The membership of the co-operative is made up of newcomers to Winnipeg (and in most cases Canada), who are encouraged to grow their own fruits and vegetables, from which produce is retained by the families but also shared within their community and local markets.

Food Connections Project is a social enterprise and pre-employment program that offers delicious city-wide catering options. The program provides hands-on training in and for the hospitality industry. Participants are able to operate a community store and participate in cooking classes, a breakfast program and the catering business.

Nor ‘West Co-op Community Health  was founded in 1972 and has been working to provide accessible primary health care, counseling and childcare every since. Working in the tradition of alternative health models of the Canadian Prairies, NorWest offers an array of empowering health services to its members and partners; it is the only health co-op in Manitoba.

Childminders offers childcare services for organizations by providing reliable childcare during workshops and meetings, gathering, etc. Childminders works to empower women and communities by providing skill development opportunities for childcare workers, and reliable services for families.

W.R.E.N.C.H. views bicycles as personal empowerment. As such, their mission is to remove the barriers to building, repairing, and maintaining bicycles, a mission that also includes a focus on educating youth. The Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub supports a wealth of community bike shops around Winnipeg as well as a great selection of educational workshops.

Natural Cycle Worker Co-op Limited  offers a wide range of cycling services; whether it be the use of their environmentally

ethical courier service, bike maintenance, purchasing a new bicycle or even ordering a specific part, Natural Cycle can help you with all of your cycling needs. Located in Winnipeg’s Exchange District, Natural Cycle is helping to promote healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.

Resolution Skills Centre  provides conflict resolution services and valuable professional development programs for non-profit organizations.The Skills Centre, which is run by Mediation Services Winnipeg, operates on the belief that effective conflict resolution skills can help you at work, in your personal relationships, and at home.

Assiniboine Credit Union Assiniboine Credit Union is, like all credit unions, a cooperative organization with a responsibility to its members. ACU, however, takes this relationship further, being a living wage employer and sponsor to a myriad of community investments throughout Winnipeg, Thomson, and Gillam. Be sure to contact them for any and all of your banking needs.


BUILD is an acronym for Building Urban Infrastructure for Local Development. This non-profit social enterprise retrofits low-income homes to be more efficient and environmentally sustainable while employing members of its community who face multiple barriers to employment. Its work builds community and the economy while improving the environment.

Peg City Car Co-op runs Winnipeg’s only carsharing service, offering the benefits of having access to a vehicle without the financial and environmental burden of owning one. This budding cooperative maintains support for alternative modes of transportation such as biking and public transit, but should you require the use of a car from time to time, then look no further and contact Peg City Car Co-op today.

BEEP stands for the Brandon Energy Efficient Program, and since 2007 it has been increasing the energy and water efficiency of Brandon’s affordable housing stock. It develops unskilled workers with limited work experience into capable craftspeople who work to make their communities stronger and more environmentally responsible.

Mother Earth Recycling Mother Earth Recyclingis a province-wide aboriginal social enterprise that specializes in recycling electronics, or e-waste.  Together with their partners, MER is working to bolster aboriginal employment and training in the recycling sector.

Manitoba Green Retrofit operates as a non-profit social enterprise to offer several much-needed residential services through employing community members of Winnipeg’s inner city who face barriers to employment. Using MGR, like all social enterprises, ensures that your money creates a ripple effect in the community, driving economic growth and environmental sustainability.

Inner City Renovations  is a social enterprise with the goal of being self-sustaining employee-owned company, and it serves a variety of clients in the commercial renovations sector. Founded in 2002, ICR continues to create quality jobs for low income people who live in Winnipeg’s inner-city, which strengthens the communities in which they work. 

A convenient tool to use, and to spread among your networks, is the Social Purchasing Portal. This useful online service markets small ethical businesses committed to the core principle of community economic development. The challenges Manitobans face are numerous and often daunting, such as a deteriorating environment, growing income inequality, endemic ill-health, tepid economies, and stubborn barriers to employment. But Manitobans are developing a number of innovative ways to help overcome these challenges and improve our communities in doing so. By deciding to use these services listed here, you are choosing to spend your money and time in such a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally responsible.