The Kootenay Co-op Community Grants Program offers up to $500 for community projects or initiatives that help us towards our Vision: We envision thriving communities with resilient food systems, where all people have access to affordable food that is healthy for our bodies, our communities, and the Earth.  These grants are partially funded by our generous members through the tip jars at the café checkout!

Community Grants are available to local organizations for community projects, programs or initiatives.  Successful applications will include specifics about the project and its impact on our local community, alignment with our Vision, the ability of organizer(s) to complete the project, and how our Co-op’s contribution fits within the overall budget. Organizations and programs can receive a maximum of one Kootenay Co‑op Community Grant per 12-month period. Organizations must acknowledge the Kootenay Co‑op’s contribution in their project materials.

Application Process:
1. Complete Community Grant Application. If you need more space to explain your project, additional materials are welcome.
2. Submit the completed application to Customer Service or electronically at
3. A committee of Kootenay Co-op staff, Board and members will review applications and make grant awards on a quarterly basis.

Applications Due: December 1st, March 1st, June 1st, September 1st

Here are our most recent recipients:

March 2019: Bee Awareness Society

The Bee Awareness Society School Education Program teaches a lot of valuable information in local schools through their live glass observations bee hives, “Live Learning Tools,” including:

  • the basics  of pollination
  • why pollination is important
  • the risks pollinators face in today’s world
  • what students, their families and communities can do to reduce risks to pollinators
  • Biology 101
  • life cycle of the honey bee
  • how to care for our environment
  • what kind of home gardens will help bees and other pollinators.

Bee Awareness Society will put their $500 grant toward purchasing two observation hives’ worth of bees! We are thankful to our members for supporting this program through the tip jars at the cafe.

“It is important to keep our backyards and wider community free of chemicals, herbicides and insecticides by replacing them with environmentally/pollinator friendly natural products. Thus resulting in homegrown organic food that can be consumed by the grower, sold to the community and stores like Kootenay Co-op, improving the quality of the food we eat. The honey bees and other pollinators provide 35% of our food supply by there pollination, therefore keeping the environment clean and healthy is very important for the pollinators to survive. […] We are educating our children to be responsible stewards of our land and environment.

Our group together has over 100 years of beekeeping experience. We acquire our knowledge with hangs on experience along with facts from science research, resource books and online materials. We attend workshops, education days, AGMs, presented by the West Kootenay Beekeepers and BC Honey Producers Association. This gives us the qualifications to be part of this project, providing guidance and information to the community.”

March 2019: SEEDS (Seniors Economic Environment Development Society)

“The goal of this project is to move and rebuild a greenhouse gifted to SEEDS by the City of Nelson and establish a new location for SEEDS operations. The city has donated park space on 7th street, across from Lakeview Village (a senior assisted living centre), for this purpose. This will create a cohesive space where SEEDS can foster an environment for inter-generational learning and teaching. Seniors will be able to share their knowledge of gardening and growing food with the youth of Nelson. We hope to continue to provide nutritional vegetables to relief agencies as we did in the past from our new location, as well as improve and expand our programming, and create a community garden in our new location. SEEDS will continue to support food education for local elementary students in the district.

This project will contribute to local food security and increase access to affordable, fresh and healthy food that we grow in a socially just and environmentally sustainable manner. SEEDS will be able to offer workshops and demonstrations at its own outdoor classroom showing the public where, how and when local food is produced, how to access it, eat seasonally and preserve food. More people in Nelson will have the skills, confidence and resources they need to grow some of their own food. We envision this project as something that we can expand upon and share with other communities in the area.”

We chose SEEDS for a grant this quarter for these reasons and SO MANY MORE! Thank you for helping us support this awesome local organization. The $500 grant will go towards the initial costs of site preparation and machinery rental.

March 2019: Nelson and District Youth Centre

The Eazy Eats project will “provide youth with the opportunity to access healthy, wholesome meals in a bias- and barrier-free environment that will aid in improving the quality of their lives. Youth will learn valuable cooking skills, like making meals from scratch. […] In Eazy-Eats, not only will youth be provided with a meal, they will learn how to prepare and clean up after each meal, while gaining important food safety knowledge, cultivating a positive relationship with food, reducing food waste, and learning how to budget and shop with little to no funds. Youth who participate in Eazy-Eats will also have the opportunity to become socially connected to peers who may be facing similar challenges in their lives. The opportunity to make new connections with peers and community members may mitigate some of the barriers they face in regard to food security, poverty and social disconnection.” We feel really great about supporting a program like this. The $430  grant donation will cover the cost of the food used for the program.

March 2019: Slocan Valley Youth Network

“The purpose of the [Community Cooking Program for Youth] is to teach 12 youth between the ages of 12 – 18 that live from Slocan to Crescent Valley how to cook a proper nutritional meal from start to finish. We will teach them skills on how to properly grocery shop and budget, what kid of kitchen equipment they need in order to cook meals and then go over simple ingredients to keep on hand to cook fast dinners as well as no recipe meals.” Teaching youth about cooking, budgeting, nutrition, local and seasonal eating allows the opportunity to take these skills into their future and help them live healthy lifestyles as they grow into adults. Our $430  grant donation will help cover the cost of the food used for the program.

December 2018: Winter Markets at Taghum Hall

Taghum Hall hosts seven markets each fall and winter, connecting eaters to food producers, and gift-lovers to local craftspeople.  We are happy to support these markets as they provide a place for community members to connect with each other, to wonder at our local talent, and to get to know those who grow food for us to enjoy year round.


December 2018: W E Graham Community School Hot Lunch


We’re happy to support the Farm to School Hot Lunch program, nourishing and engaging the next generation of community leaders in the Slocan Valley!  The school will be producing microgreens on-site with the help of students and teachers, adding nutrients and perspective to their lunch!  They will also be sourcing more local produce for their hot lunch program, creating a steady customer for local farms and more delicious lunches for the kids.

August 2018: ANKORS

Our Cafe Tip Jar in August and October supported ANKORS, a local volunteer-fueled organization that responds to the evolving needs of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other blood borne pathogens; encourages harm reduction through education and prevention; and fosters healthy, informed communities with advocacy and client-centered support.

July 2018:  Harvest Rescue Program

In June and July our Café Tip Jar supported The Nelson Food Cupboard’s Harvest Rescue Program, which is both a community service and resource!  Through Harvest Rescue, trained volunteers glean fruit from backyard gardens in the Nelson area and vegetables from nearby farms. This produce is shared between the donor, the pickers, and people living on low incomes through the Good Food Bank and other social service organizations. On average, Harvest Rescue gleans 10,000 pounds of produce every year!  This program reduces food waste and bear-human interactions while sharing fresh local produce with people who might not otherwise enjoy it.  Contact to volunteer your time or your fruit tree!


 June 2018: Kootenay Co-operative Radio for Fred Wah Literary Partnership Project

In this project, Fred Wah will partner with the Kootenay Co-op Radio to create, produce, and perform an original radio play based loosely on his iconic book, Diamond Grill, named after his father’s Baker Street restaurant. Wah grew up in the Kootenays of mixed Chinese-Swedish heritage and went on to become an internationally renowned author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose, a Poet Laureate, and Officer of the Order of Canada. He describes the radio drama project this way:

The project will result in a local radio play set in a small-town Chinese-Canadian cafe in the 1950s, where the door between the Chinese cooks in the kitchen and the white customers in the dining room represents a noisy site of racial and cultural hybridity.  The radio play explores how those kitchen doors, hinged to swing both ways, become a metaphor for the dynamics of moving through the strata of local identities and performing what he refers to as “an innate betweenness shared by so many Canadians.”

The recording will be broadcast on KCR, made available as a podcast, and distributed to museums, archives, and libraries throughout the Columbia Basin.

June 2018: Health Arts Society for Concerts in Care

Concerts in Care is a seniors’ quality of life program that offers concerts to residents of the long term care facilities at Mountain Lake and Broader Horizons (with shuttles from Jubilee Manor).  These 20 monthly concerts,  featuring Kootenay professional musicians, connect these isolated audiences with the performance community.  Residents in long term care are in need of stimulation, yet many of them will be unable to access live professional music for the rest of their lives. These concerts offer seniors a sense of participating in ordinary life and provide another way for friends and family to share time with their loved ones.

May 2018: Canadian Mental Health Association for Mad Pride

“Mad Pride” is an annual event to raise community awareness of mental health issues, to reduce the stigma and to celebrate the many ways we can experience life  The CMHA is celebrating this year with an Open Stage on Saturday July 14th, 7-10pm at Expressions Cafe and we are proud to support the event with snacks!

May 2018: Cycling Without Age

Nelson has just recently opened their own chapter of Cycling Without Age and we’re proud to sponsor their program and shiny new “trishaw”.  This volunteer-run international organization offers bike rides to those with limited mobility, especially isolated seniors.  CWA is built around 5 guiding principles:  generosity, slowness and the curiosity it brings, sharing knowledge through storytelling, building relationships and aging in a positive context.


 May 2018: Castlegar Early Childhood Advisory Council for Teddy Bear Picnic

In June we supported the Castlegar Teddy Bear Picnic. This annual event is meant to introduce families to the services that are available in the area, while having a fun day in the park.


April 2018 Grant Recipient: Kootenay Food Strategy Society

Twin Rivers/Castlegar Primary will be using this month’s grant to start a school garden/composting project in partnership with the community garden, Castlegardens. This project so obviously aligns with our vision of “thriving communities with resilient food systems, where all people have access to affordable food that is healthy for our bodies, our communities and the earth” that we were happy to write the cheque for $500 to help make it happen. Not only will the students learn about the science of composting, they will work together to divert waste from our landfills while also feeding nutrients to the nearby community garden! We are pretty excited to see this project move forward and hope to see food literacy in more school curricula in our region and beyond.

“This project will:

  • divert 100kg of waste from the local landfill over the school year
  • teach students about the importance of composting
  • provide leadership opportunities for students to educate other students and citizens about composting practices
  • create soil conditioner for the community garden [Castlegardens]
  • demonstrate grassroots community response to the lack of organic waste management in Castlegar.”


March 2018 Grant Recipient: Support Group for Youth with Chronic Pain

This local support group for youth with chronic pain received a $200 donation in the form of gift cards to act as an honorarium for the support group’s guest speakers. Because we at the Co-op are committed to philanthropy, we actively support organizations that enrich our community. The community grant is an example of how we live our values every day. The Kootenay Co-op’s core value of promoting education about health (as well as food, the environment and social justice) has the potential not only to positively impact individuals, but to ripple through those individuals to the broader community and beyond.

“Dear Kootenay Co-op, I’m writing to thank you for your generous donation to the Youth Pain Group. The youth who attended our group had the opportunity to attend four, two-hour long sessions during which they learned about what pain is and various ways to manage it. The youth learned about the science behind pain, the nervous system, medication, meditation and healthy sleep habits from a medical doctor. They also had the opportunity to take part in an hour-long yoga session, try myofascial ball rolling, had a 75-minute art therapy session, and learned about posture and nutrition from various presenters from the community. Throughout the four weeks, I heard much positive feedback from the youth and their parents. A follow-up survey completed after the program showed that the youth and parents were very satisfied with the program and an overwhelming majority would like to see the program return for another round! It has been very rewarding for me, as the parent of one of the children with chronic pain, to be part of this amazing group and to see the youth be so engaged and learn so much in such a short time. So, thank you again for the donation to help make this group happen.”

March 2018 Grant Recipient: Kootenay and Boundary Community Services Co-op

Here is yet another example of Co-operative principle #6: Co-operation among co-ops! The West Kootenay Early Years Conference is put on by the Kootenay and Boundary Community Services Co-operative. This annual conference supports Early Childhood Educators (ECEs), early years program facilitators and service providers, offering a forum for networking and learning opportunities. We decided to support this organization with $400 of March’s Community Grant because, as stated in their grant application, “The health of children and families is one of the pillars and a social indicator of healthy communities.” The programs provided by those who attend the conference “nurture learning, inspiration, healthy development, well-being, creativity […] in children and families.” This is definitely something we at the Kootenay Co-op can get behind!

“This grant supports the local early childhood education (ECE) sector to access high quality professional development right in their own region. It is costly and challenging for ECEs (who are notoriously underpaid and often not funded for professional development registration fees or for their time to attend) to travel for professional development. They are required [to maintain] 40 hours [of pro-d] every 5 years to re-certify. Supporting our local conference allows them to gain these valuable pro-d hours here and thereby supports the children and families that these professionals are working with. Thank you!”

February 2018 Grant Recipient: Upper Columbia Co-op Council (UCCC)

UCCC received half of February’s grant to put toward their Regional Co-operative and Credit Union Impact Study for 2018 (what is that? read the quote below to find out!). All co-operatives operate on 7 principles, and this grant is a great example of principle 6, Co-operation Among Co-operatives and principle 7, Concern for Community. Because our co-op is working toward strengthening the co-operative movement by working in solidarity with other co-ops, and because we are working toward the sustainable development of our community, this was the perfect opportunity to team up with another co-op in order to learn more about how co-ops are impacting on our community.

“As you at the Kootenay Co-op well know, co-operatives and credit unions have a significant impact on both the social landscape and the economy of our region. This impact can be measured quantifiably, through employee numbers and their wages and benefits, a co-op’s assets, and their gross annual sales; it can also be measured in terms of less tangible social and community development impacts — how many members benefit from the services offered by our regional non-profit co-ops? How many members and volunteers feel a sense of worth and belonging through membership in our local co-ops? How do our co-ops and CUs give back to the communities in which they operate? The purpose of this project is to collate all of the answers to these questions in one report that can be used by our regional co-ops and credit unions to better understand what they are a part of, and to tell that story to others.”

February 2018 Grant Recipient: Bee Awareness Society

The second half of February’s grant went to Bee Awareness Society for their School Education Program. The Kootenay Co-op recognizes the importance of pollinators’ health for the food security of our region. That’s why we support the Bee Awareness Society. This local non-profit group teaches what pollination is, why its important, current risks to all pollinators and what students/community can do to reduce risk to pollinators in their own backyard. They do this with observation hives as a live learning tool. Observation hives have been installed in schools and other community gathering places in communities across the Kootenays. This grant will go toward purchasing bees for more hive installations in schools this spring, 2018.

When asked what the purpose of this program is and how it will benefit the community, Linda Martin of Bee Awareness Society responded that “A key part [of the educational program] is how to care for our environment in our communities and home gardens that will benefit bees and other pollinators. We must keep our backyards and wider community free of chemicals, herbicides and insecticides. Without bees and other pollinators such as insects, butterflies and birds, we would lost 35% of our food products. [The School Education Program] instill[s] responsible stewardship at an early age so that our children can make a difference in enabling a healthy environment for humanity and those plants, animals and insects that provide for us and our future.”

January 2018 Grant Recipient: Rotary Club of Nelson – Daybreak

Nelson’s Daybreak Rotary Club received a grant because the support of local food banks is well aligned with our vision of a thriving community with resilient food systems, where all people have access to affordable food that is healthy for our bodies, our communities and the earth. One of our core values is philanthropy and we are committed to supporting local organizations that enrich our community. The Rotary Club’s efforts to promote peace, fight disease, support education, grow local economies, provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene, and save mothers and children are in line with this core value. We, the Kootenay Co-op, are proud to have supported their continued success in making this world a better place with the award of January’s $500 grant.

“We raised 10,820.00 at this year’s International Dinner – this has become our Rotary Daybreak club’s biggest fundraiser. It was a resounding success. This event also gives our Selkirk cooking and hotel management students a chance to shine and they most certainly did.

From those proceeds we are disbursing $6,540.00 for local food security programs (Our Daily Bread, Salvation Army, Nelson Food Cupboard), $3,000 to support a teacher in Haiti, and $1,250.00 to the Rotary End Polio Now Program.

Thank you for supporting us with the beautiful gift basket and the high-value gift cards.”

December 2017 Grant Recipient: Kaslo Food Hub’s Holiday Food Hamper Program

The Kaslo Food Hub received a grant in the form of food donations for their holiday hamper program. The Kootenay Co-op provide $725 worth of teas, cereals, crackers and tofu and Organic Girl donated $400 worth of salad greens. The Food Hamper program is very well aligned with our mission and we are happy to have helped spread cheer and share good organic food with those in need this holiday season.

“The Kaslo Food Hub is proud to announce the delivery of 65 food hampers to people in need of some extra holiday cheer and food over the holidays. The food hampers were full of local vegetables, soaps, Honey Candles, gift certificates, coffee, toys for the
kids, cookies, honey, a turkey and much more! Over 52 kids received gifts, and with the help of Jim from Chore Boys, there was no lack to choose from to find good presents and toys for the whole family! We could not have done it without the support of our dedicated volunteers, donations from local business and the hard work of the people at community services (NKLCSS).”

“The hampers were amazing and brought much happiness to our community. You guys are AWESOME! Thank you Kootenay Co-op”

November 2017 Grant Recipient: The Kootenay Centre for Forestry Alternative’s North Kootenay Lake Water Monitoring Project (NKLWMP)

The Water Monitoring Project is helping our community to learn more about its natural systems. The NKLWMP received a grant to help purchase a field laptop so that they may download and collect data in the field. Their efforts to collect information on climate change in our region is aligned with our value of balancing equally social justice, environmental stewardship and financial responsibility.

“The NKLWMP is busy through the winter.  At the moment the Senior and Jr Hydrologists are analyzing the stream flow, climate and snow course data, and compiling this into a report, which will be available in May.  Once each month (Jan, Feb, March, April, May and June depending on snow pack) volunteers ski into our high-elevation snow course sites at the north end of Kooteany Lake.   There are two snow course sites, and 2 volunteers visit each site once per month.  This is no small task.   One of the sites is a 2 hour sled ride in with a 40 minutes ski tour at the end.  The other site involves a 5 hour ski tour in, up a relatively steep logging road. Once up there, they used specialized snow tubes to determine snow pack depth, density and water equivalent.

Once the snow starts to melt, and the creeks start to increase in flow, the hydrometric monitoring stations on 7 streams will be reestablished.  Once the hydrometric stations are operating again, the laptop will be used to download the data from the data loggers .  The laptop will also be used to collect the data from the two (to be three this summer) NKLWMP climate stations.”

If you can demonstrate alignment with our Vision, Mission, and Values, we want to hear from you! Please fill out the Community Grant Application and email it to