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Two St. Catharines co-ops win $25,000 in The National Co-op Challenge

Oct 23, 2014

GUELPH, ON, Oct. 23, 2014 /CNW/ - The Co-operators announced today that Garden City Food Co-operative and Niagara Local Food Co-operative, both of St. Catharines, have each won $25,000 as the Ontario Region winners of The National Co-op Challenge.

Garden City Food Co-operative is a grassroots organization providing a fresh approach to food and food shopping in downtown St. Catharines. Its prize money will be put toward the opening of a new grocery store in 2015 that will offer wholesome, fairly priced food in a busy area of the city. The downtown area is currently underserved, lacking stores with competitively-priced and healthy food options. 

Niagara Local Food Co-operative brings together agricultural producers and consumers in an online virtual farmer's market to help farmers distribute to local residents. This innovative marketing and distribution system helps bring locally grown food from small and specialized producers to the people of Niagara. With the prize money, they will expand with a wholesaling network in order to supply larger commercial and institutional customers.

"Every co-op in this contest makes an impact on its local community, providing needed goods and services and contributing to the overall strength and resilience of the community," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "The contest helped promote these wonderful enterprises, which operate in a wide range of sectors, from urban farming and culture to health care and alternative energy -- a true representation of the great diversity of the Canadian co-op sector."

Sixteen small and emerging co-ops from across Canada were selected as finalists, four from each of four regions. Each created a video to raise awareness of their enterprise while also educating the public about the co-operative business model. The Canadian public was able to vote for their favourite co-op through the contest website from September 3 to October 1, with the two co-ops in each region garnering the most votes declared the winners. 

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $36 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937

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