Coop Cred Program uses an alternative currency model to create better access to local and nutritious food for low-income people while at the same time facilitating training, employment and volunteer opportunities for participants.
How it works
In exchange for their labour, participants earn coop creds that can then be used to purchase local, healthy food at the West End Food Coop or the Sorauren Farmers Market. Since no money is exchanged participants are protected from social assistance claw-back restrictions.
In 2013 the Coop Cred pilot project rolled out, placing PARC Ambassadors into placements at both West End Food Coop and Greenest City. The project’s evaluation showed how Coop Cred functions as more than a community currency; it also provides low-income and marginalized people with a wide range of benefits that improve livelihoods:
Social – increased food security and food literacy
Health – improved access to healthy and local food
Economic – on-the-job training, mentoring and new skills
Environmental – a new link with local farmers/land stewardship activity