North end grocery store wins $115K grant

Community Carrot Co-op plans to open this spring

With $115K to their name, Community Carrot Co-op plans to open its doors in spring. (Photo: Community Carrot Co-op)
With $115K to their name, Community Carrot Co-op plans to open its doors in spring. (Photo: Community Carrot Co-op)

Relief has finally come for hundreds of low-income families and students living in Halifax’s north end.
On the Jan. 29 edition of Canada AM, Halifax’s Community Carrot Co-op was announced the grand prize winner of Aviva Insurance’s Community Fund.

The fund was created so positive ideas could receive funding to enact change in Canadian neighbourhoods.

Winners were chosen based on an idea’s:

  • impact
  • likelihood of success
  • sustainability
  • originality
  • votes

After three rounds of online voting and more than 7,000 votes, the co-op reached the finals where a jury selected the not-for-profit Gottingen Street grocery store for the $115,000 grant.

The co-op aims to offer affordable food for the community’s 60 per cent low-income families and 54 per cent unemployed residents.

The grant money will go towards purchasing inventory — such as shelving and cooling systems — as well as provide funding for possible community programs.

“What’s different about us than typical retail stores is we have a (mission) to be a social enterprise,” says co-op spokesperson Gwen McCauley.

Proposed programs include:

  • Nutrition education classes
  • Cooking classes and demonstrations
  • Food delivery services

Community Carrot co-op will also continue to raise $40,000 to bid on a lease at the newly renovated 2169 Gottingen St. To date they’ve raised more than $2,400 through the online crowdfunding tool FundRazr.com and plan to look for further grant opportunities.

Over the next few months the co-op will determine how to divvy up the funds and prepare for their expected spring 2013 opening.

“Now that we have money we actually have to put our mouth where their money is,” McCauley says.