Securing Local Food—and the Non-profit That Promotes It

The Revelstoke Local Food Initiative gets support to continue to help get their community growing.

3 minute read

Valuable advice strengthens operations at the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative

Bite into a Revelstoke-grown carrot, dip into Revelstoke-produced salsa or slather your toast with honey made from Revelstoke bees—if you eat food that originated in this community, there’s a good chance the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative had a hand in it.

With the tagline Get Dirty!, the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative offers programs that encourage local food production, celebrate local food producers and support the local food-based economy. Just a few examples are its Garden Guru workshops, its Little Sprouts preschool program, beekeeper tours, community gardens and the Revelstoke farmers’ market.

“We are always striving to get our community growing,” says Executive Director Kelsey Gasparini. And to continue to help it grow into the future, the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative has benefited from the Trust’s Non-profit Advisors Program.

Essential steps made easier

The Revelstoke Local Food Initiative first reached out to the Non-profit Advisors Program after it separated from the North Columbia Environmental Society in 2015 to form its own society. Launched the same year, to provide advice to non-profits in the Basin, the Non-profit Advisors Program set out to help non-profits improve organizational efficiency and navigate operational challenges, from human resources to governance.

With the support of a program advisor, the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative completed an in-depth organizational assessment to help identify its strengths and opportunities for improvement. This provided the society with a roadmap to support its capacity-building and growth.

“The Non-profit Advisors Program helped us realize the systems required to facilitate our growth,” Gasparini says, “and steered us toward the support we needed to get ourselves there.”

And grow it has. By 2020, the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative had doubled its workload and its membership.

Then the pandemic hit. While some programs continued, others had to temporarily shut down. Fundraising also took a big hit.

The organizational assessment conducted by the Non-profit Advisors Program had highlighted the importance of reviewing and strengthening financial systems while creating a longer-term financial management plan. The pandemic proved to be the perfect opportunity to undertake this complex work, and the Trust was able to help with funds to hire an experienced consultant to guide senior leadership on this effort.

The financial consultant “helped us streamline our financial reporting processes and helped us eliminate some unnecessary steps.” The society now has a monthly budget and reporting templates. It is continuing to work on a longer-term financial plan. “Overall, it has been a great success.”

A rosy tomorrow

Gasparini is thankful for the Trust’s support—especially the in-depth aid offered by Non-profit Advisors Program. “The program has helped us focus on our goals, showing us how we can positively affect our community and flourish in that role.”

The initiative’s future looks sunny—and promises a heck of a lot of very dirty hands.

Non-profit Advisors Program

The Non-profit Advisors Program aims to help build the organizational capacity and sustainability of non-profit organizations in the Columbia Basin Trust region

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