Entrepreneurship at the service of nature
By Catherine Gingras
2021-2022 Parks Canada Youth Ambassador
When I was younger, I would never have thought that “making profit” and “creating change” could appear in the same sentence. I had this preconceived idea that the path I had to take would be either good or bad: contribute to social justice and the reduction of greenhouse gasses or pollute the environment for personal gain. In short, I perceived a false dilemma.
However, my perception was changed when I came across an article completely by chance that left me speechless. I wanted to go to university in management to put my skills as a “leader” to good use, but it’s thanks to this article that I understood that it was possible to combine my two passions. To me, I wanted to have my cake and eat it, too. I knew I could make change through activism, volunteering and determination. However, at the end of the day, my basic financial needs needed to be met, too.
The article suggested that that year, 60% of food produced in Canada was thrown away. “SORRY?”, I thought. I almost fell out of my chair because I couldn’t believe it. All those resources were wasted. From field to fork, a total of 35 million tons of food has been thrown away. And this is only food produced in Canada.
This article was enough to convince me that I had to find a solution to create change in my own way. After entering university in 2019, I decided to start a company that would collect unsold food from grocery stores, farms, and distribution centers to create sorbets. Giving a new life to all those discarded foods that were never moldy or stale, only “different”. This included food that was too big, too small, misshapen, wrong color, with a stain, etc. I put my public speaking skills to good use, managed to get seed money to start up, and bought discarded fruits and vegetables to transform and sell them.
This fun experience showed me more than anything. It showed me that it is possible to combine the interest of the planet, individuals and profit so that jointly, a better tomorrow can be built. So far with my little initiative, I have managed to divert 150 kg of food from becoming waste and I intend to continue to increase this number.
So that’s it. Finally, I think I found my calling. And if it isn’t my calling, I’ll create a new one! Because after all, someone has to take care of the problem, right? More and more initiatives are springing up all over the world. You can get involved in your daily life and your community to create change in your own way, combine conservation and entrepreneurship, one concrete gesture at a time!