Here at the7dayringproject, one of our favourite things to do when we have team meetings is go out for food and drinks (I mean- who doesn't?). So, we thought it would be a great idea to bring together our favourite businesses and created our first edition of our favourite products and places you can get or visit around Vancouver that also happen to make an impact.

1. Farafena

Farafena is the gluten-free fanatics dream. They have flour replacements and superfoods that can make your fancy green smoothie even healthier. Farafena also supplies Baobab, which has a higher antioxidant density than any other fruit. The company is committed to developing sustainable agro businesses in the Sahel region of Mali. They work with their key stakeholders in Mali, collaborate with local entrepreneurs, women's cooperatives and family-owned businesses who aim to strengthen Mali's social and economic environment. Learn more about Farafena and check out their Instagram worthy recipes on their site. Better yet, swing by a Whole Foods to pick up something super!


2. LifeStraw

We feel pretty lucky to live in a city with delicious and clean water, but having a LifeStraw can come in awfully handy on your trip to another country or a quick weekend summer camping trip. Not only does each straw clean 99.9999% of bacteria for up to 1000L of water and is BPA free, but for every LifeStraw water filter sold, they provide clean water for a year to one child in Africa. 


3. Mealshare

Mealshare Instagram

Mealshare Instagram

A couple of years ago, while reading the menu at a popular restaurant in Vancouver, I noticed a little symbol of a fork next to the description of a delicious looking entrée. Then a few months later, at a conference hosted by my business school, I learned the whole story behind that little symbol. Mealshare partners with restaurants across Canada, places their little symbol next to items on their menu, and then, when a customer chooses that meal, MealShare provides a youth with a free meal. Check out their website to find restaurants near you that are supporting Mealshare. 

 

4. Newman's Own

You may recognize this logo from your mom’s pantry or your local superstore: one of the best tomato sauces and best salad dressing options (that actually make spinach taste good). Newman’s Own is a line of all natural products created by the one and only Paul Newman. 100% of the profits after tax go to the Paul Newman Foundation, which have given $450 million to various charities. Next time you’re craving one of those cheap frozen pizzas, look out for Newman’s Own.

5. My Green Space

My Green Space is making it possible for you to grow your own garden and have your plants ACTUALLY survive. Their app helps you plan out a garden by telling you the best things to grow, based on your location and conditions in your own outdoor space. It even sends you reminders to water your little green babies among with other daily tips! Not only is it sweet to be able to say that the veggies you cook for dinner came from your garden (My Green Space adapts from big yards to tiny balconies), but they are focused on making it easy as possible for you to grow chemical-free fruits and veggies. They are on a mission to change the way we eat by spreading a movement of reliance on local food systems, rather than our current global dependency.

 

Instead of buying spinach from the other side of the world, why not reduce your consumption of greenhouse gases and save some packaging? It's amazing what you can do with a few seeds and some soil. We think we've found you a pretty yummy summer hobby. 

 

6. Heartwood Cafe 

Heartwood is a fully licensed neighbourhood restaurant nested in Mount Pleasant, Coast Salish Territory. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner with locally fresh and seasonally delicious dishes for you to feast on. One initiative they have started which we think is SO cool is called "Soup for the People", a community supported menu that you pay for by donation based on what you can afford. The three principles of "Soup for the People" are to make food that is accessible,  that nourishes their caring community and that brings people together.  They also have a community space to host exhibitions for artists that are tackling social injustices. We love their phrase "We don't believe in charity, we believe in community collaboration."

7. Save on Meats

This diner has become a famous spot for Vancouverites and has received a lot of press. But we are so inspired by their innovation and delicious eats that we had to show them some love. Save on Meats (SOM) is one of the only 5 restaurants in the world to be classified as a B-corp (aka they must create a measurable positive impact on society and consider how their decisions will affect their employees, community and environment). SOM serves above average food at below average prices, and 30% of their staff identifies with having at least 1 barrier to employment. What else? Their token program has been successfully operating since 2012, and has served over 88,000 delicious meals to residents of the downtown east side (one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods). See how the program works in the video below or click here.

I had the chance to hear the owner, Mark Brand, speak at an event. What really struck a chord with me was how upfront he was that being a social enterprise is brutally hard and that tons of things go wrong. However, he emphasized that the impact that you can make is so worth the extra work and difficulties- we couldn't agree more! His message has been a great reminder for me during the entire process of working on the7dayringproject when facing major challenges. We praise Mark for his awesome innovative ways to make an impact and for SOM's unreal pulled pork sandwiches.

 

Know of a cool company finding innovative ways to make an impact?
Send us a message and tell us about it —we love being inspired!

 

Much love,
the7dayringproject

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