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2017 Philanthropy Awards: Ecotrust


We really do envision a world where every
transaction benefits people and planet. I just simply do not buy the idea that somehow
the environment and economic growth have to be at odds with each other. Ecotrust drives a triple bottomline meaning
environmental economic inequity, and to my mind any change worth pursuing is going to
be all three of those, not just one and even really just two. If you only worry about equity and economic,
then you are going to destroy the planet. If you only worry about the planet and the
economy, you’re going to leave people out and that’s never going to be a durable outcome. And if you only care about equity and the
environment, you know, you’re not going to have the economic means to really move forward. One of the major challenges that agricultural
producers, particularly small and medium sized guys, have is that they have a hard time distributing
into the city centers where there tend to be a larger concentration of customers. The Redd is a two block food system reform
campus. It essentially aggregates for a lot of those
guys and provides to them a central means and point of distribution that’s making life
a lot easier for them. For Ecotrust to have a project like the Redd
and be so intentionally involved in the local food economy is really important in terms
of impact. We suddenly have a conduit to allow outlying
farmers and growers access through cold storage to the Portland market, which is unique, and
that benefits farmers. It gives access to small businesses to ingredients
that we may not have been able to source on our own because now we have an aggregation
point. And when you add up all those little things,
I mean, that’s – you can say that’s how Ecotrust is changing the world. Well they’re at least changing our local food
economy. There’s nothing quite like it. There’s no piece of hard infrastructure that
we’ve been able to find that responds exactly to those needs and provides the services that
it does. Because of the way that Redd operates, in
terms of being able to match big institutional buyers with small and medium size healthy
local food producers, we’ve been able to get, just the other day,
into a major Portland hospital system because we could aggregate the order and deliver it
all through the Redd. That’s not something that would have been
an option before. This award from Bank of the West is going
to allow us to scale up our work, to really push innovation into the food system and beyond. It’s an incredibly important moment, and we
want to steer into it, and this allows us to do that.

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