Category Archives: CED in Calgary

Bridgeland Riverside Farmers Market Kicks Off June 23rd







With summer right around the corner, many seasonal Farmer’s Markets in Calgary are gearing up for a great year, and The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market (BRFM) is certainly no exception. Run by 10 resident volunteers, this local initiative will be making it’s 2016 debut on June 23rd at the Bridgeland-Riverside Hall (917 Centre Ave NE). This year BRFM has introduced extended hours – testament to the success of the 2015 season – and will now be running every Thursday from 3:30 – 7:30 until October 6th.

BRFM Family Fun








The 2015 season was the first year the BRFM had dedicated special events. These included a Launch Market in June, a County Market in August, a Fall Harvest to wrap up their season and a Holiday Event in November that ran for two days. They saw unbelievable success with all these events, especially with the Holiday Market which sold out of vendor spots entirely. This success has allowed them to continue with these fantastic community events, with the Launch Market, Bridgeland Bike Fest, and Fall Harvest all slated for 2016.










Being a community initiative, BRFM is dedicated to gathering feedback from clients in order to meet the needs of the community it serves and continually improve each year. Learning that the special events of 2015 were hugely popular and provided value to both vendors and market-goers, their plan is to not only continue them this season, but expand on them. One such improvement based on feedback is to have more free activities for children, after they were well received in 2015.  They also plan to build upon the inclusion of buskers and bands at every market, so local artists can share their music with the community.










With an underlying commitment to supporting local farmers, producers, and artisans, last year BRFM decided to tackle potential financial barriers that some community members faced, especially  newer business and youths. To address the issue of accessibility, BRFM launched a unique program that was aimed at ensuring the Market is a true community space. The program gives participants access to a table and tent, waiving the fee that vendors would normally pay to have access to a space in the market. Aspiring entrepreneurs and/or youths with small businesses can apply to have one of the “community tables” for one week, giving them valuable exposure and an immediate economic benefit that can help them grow their business. This year the Aspiring Entrepreneur Community Table initiative is being sponsored by Luke’s Drug Mart, Bridgeland Market, and has a partnership with Momentum.

With this continuous dedication to improvement, community-building, and growth, the summer of 2016 is sure to be a fantastic year for The Bridgeland Riverside Farmer’s Market. Join them any Thursday between June 23rd and October 6th from 3:30 – 7:30 for your fill of fresh produce, local music & art, and community connection in our beautiful city.


Take Action

– Mark your calendars for the June 23rd Launch Market (and for the Bridgeland Bike Fest August 11 & Fall Harvest on October 6th!)

– Have a small business? Sign up to be a vendor! Love making music? Sign up to be a busker!

– Check out BRFM on Facebook and learn about all the fantastic vendors lined up for the 2016 season.

– Follow BRFM on Twitter and Instagram for delicious updates.


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Alberta Community Energy Workshop

On February 16, 2016, over 80 community stakeholders came together in Calgary to discuss community-owned renewable energy (RE) at the Alberta Community Energy Workshop. Hosted by the Pembina InstituteCalgary Economic DevelopmentTREC, and People Power Planet, the aim of the workshop was to build excitement around community renewable energy, to foster connections between those in attendance, and to begin a letter campaign encouraging change at the policy level. Those attending the workshop showed the broad interest that Albertans have in Community RE – participants included academics from universities, individuals from non-profits, energy retailers, First Nations representatives, plus many politicians and civil servants from the provincial government.











The workshop identified three major barriers to community-owed RE development in Alberta: price stability, financing, and local capacity. Despite these barriers, renewable energy being driven and created by the community isn’t just a theory, it’s a practice with viable examples throughout our province. The town of Devon has taken a leadership role in its own energy production to combat the unstable costs of natural gas. By joining the forces of citizens, civil servants, and the provincial government, the town has undertaken a project that will see the installation of 48,000 solar panels. Through this renewable energy program, Devon has negotiated stable electricity prices for the next 30 years, with the added benefit of leaving a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to their current natural gas and coal-based systems.











Vulcan is also leading the way by developing the Vulcan Solar Park, the first project of its kind in Canada. Situated on privately owned land, this project will have an enormous impact on energy in Alberta, with the ability to power over 8500 Alberta homes using clean energy. The benefits for Vulcan don’t stop with a lower carbon footprint or lower energy prices; there is also a focus on community-building and education. With a focus on keeping the The Solar Park aesthetically pleasing, it’s being developed into a functional park, with the solar modules including information about solar energy to help educate visitors. By combining the solar farm with a new community green space, those living in Vulcan will also benefit from increased capacity for tourism and community-building.

A group of Calgarians have launched the Alberta Solar Co-op, which aims to take on the rising demand for renewable and community-driven energy options. Their intention is to a solar farmed owned solely by Albertans. This will be a significant step towards making Alberta’s energy greener by putting enough energy to power 400 homes onto the grid. The aim is to give individuals the opportunity to invest in and have ownership of renewable energy – to encourage renewable energy development in Alberta but also share in revenue created by the project.

Solar Coop Logo






Community-owned RE has benefits beyond decreasing carbon footprints and making power more affordable. Citizens have the ability to be directly involved in the energy systems their cities and provinces are developing. Local energy projects also provide ongoing job opportunities through the creation, development, installation, and maintenance of the modules and structures. If you want to learn more or build on the excitement from the February meeting, see below for ways to get involved!

More Information on Community Owned Renewable Energy

Pembina’s Community Owned Renewable Energy Factsheet

Devon Dispatch Article on Solar Power

Prairie Post Article on the Solar Park Development

A brief history of Albert’as Solar Industry from the National Observer

You can check out all the presentations from The Alberta Community Energy Workshop

Take Action

Write a letter to your MLA (a form letter is available to download)

Become a Member of SPARK – The Alberta Renewable Energy Cooperative

Follow Pembina on Twitter and Facebook

Follow the Alberta Solar Coop on Twitter and Facebook


Written by Chelsea Detheridge, with support and resources from Barend Dronkers of the Pembina Institute.

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Awaken Your Company With Help From Catherine Bell

Author Catherine Bell hosts an inspiring evening during REAP’s Down to Earth Week









Catherine Bell is the co-founder of BluEra – a business consultancy and one of Calgary’s fastest-growing companies in 2015 – and the bestselling author of The Awakened Company. For Down to Earth Week, Catherine will be presenting what this movement means.

An “awakened company” is one that challenges the status quo, that seeks to benefit its employees, community, and the planet – not just see them as resources.

“It’s not okay that a majority of people at work are disengaged, or that most people would rate doing chores above spending time with their bosses,” Catherine says.

In her book, Catherine and her co-authors Russ Hudson and Christopher Papadopoulos use real-life examples of awakened companies around the world to provide solutions to companies that want to reinvent themselves as such. The solutions are based on three pillars of thought: business research, wisdom traditions, and practical knowledge.

With the shifting political climate in Alberta, Catherine wants to provide a way of being that will “activate individual relationships and companies in a new way, and help them to sustain times like this.”

“It is going to take a community rising, and uplifting everyone to arrive at a new way of working together,” says Catherine. “I truly believe that the world’s greatest challenges will be solved by people working better together.”

Catherine promises a fun and inspirational evening. She will share her philosophy and the lessons she learned from writing the book and starting her own company from her own pocket, such as the importance of vulnerability and failure.

“I have failed, failed again, and failed better”, she says. “But is it necessarily failure if we learn something significant?”

The event will also incorporate Alberta BoostR Stage pitches – ATB Financial’s crowdfunding platform, which is like Kickstarter for social business. Five local social entrepreneurs will be pitching their business plans to the audience and a panel of judges (of which Catherine Bell is one) for a chance to receive a $1,000 boost from ATB Financial.

“Now is the opportunity for us in Alberta to build something new, and we can do it together.”


  1. Register now for the Awakened Company event on April 15, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Civic on Third. You’ll get a copy of Catherine’s book as well as dinner, networking, and all the inspiration you can handle with your ticket.
  2. Unable to make it to the event? Purchase The Awakened Company from any of these retailers.
  3. Check out Catherine’s blogs on Awakened Company and BluEra.
  4. Follow Catherine and The Awakened Company on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  5. Win two tickets to an intimate evening with singer Sarah McLachlan for Project Warmth, courtesy of Awakened Company. Post to Awakened Company’s Twitter or Facebook pages and tag someone from your workplace who brings joy to your day to be entered to win!
  6. Curious about the other events we’re hosting during Down to Earth Week 2016? Click here for details of our local fashion and impact investing events on April 12 & 13.

(Cross-posted from


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Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association

The Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (HSCA) continues to grow community economic development through engagement in their community. Quentin Sinclair, Executive Director of the Association, says that “historically, the culture of this community has been one of activism.” A quick look at their website shows just how focused the HSCA is on creating a sustainable and vibrant community and local economy. Truly a Community Economic Development superstar in Calgary, the HSCA has had a busy few years: they’ve started a Winter Farmers’ Market, piloted a second summer market, created community gardens, and expanded into new businesses.

By far the biggest project of 2015 was a new social venture. HSCA acquired the tenant-run day care that had been in the building for decades. They were able to come to an agreement with the existing business and began implementing the plan over the second half of the year. With the acquisition, HSCA has doubled the child care staff and increased their engagement with neighbourhood families. Sinclair pointed out that the service was already there, but HSCA was able to grow it in size – and ensure that residents would be placed at the top of the waiting list. “We were also able to align our programs, interests, and business model” through the acquisition, added Sinclair, while also providing value to the community.


HSCA also piloted a Saturday Farmers’ Market in 2015 for eight weeks during the summer months. As a result, there were two outdoor markets at HSCA per week for a short duration. “It brought out more residents,” said Sinclair, “the community came out to support it.” The fantastic success of this eight week trial has lead to HSCA adding the Saturday Farmers’ Market as a staple in 2016, with a full 20 weeks scheduled this summer. With this economic endeavor, they’ve been able to expand their customer base and support more local vendors, while at the same time engaging the community and city.

As for what else 2016 has in store, Sinclair says that HSCA is taking steps to become more sustainable, looking at a triple bottom line approach and new methods for waste management. They plan to hold focus groups with residents before moving forward, as they want to ensure they have the support of the neighbourhood before making any decisions. There is also the ongoing Flea Market, Farmers’ Market, and of course the continuing merger of the day care program. It may seem like a lot to have going on in one neighbourhood, but Sinclair pointed out that “ambition exists within the community and the staff have fed off of that.” When it comes to the community and programming within it – “when they see something that’s important, they make it happen.”

Image from

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Evergreen Theatre – A Unique Community Space

When faced with the termination of their lease, Evergreen Theatre wanted to do more than just move. They decided “it was time to take a big risk” and purchase a building that could be remodeled into viable and vibrant community space – a decision that lead to the creation of Evergreen Community Spaces. I had the opportunity to speak with Artistic Producer Valmai Goggin their move, their funding, and their integration into Mayland Heights. In terms of choosing a location, they wanted something central and accessible. The north-east, said Goggin, is an under-serviced area, with little access resources, and would benefit from the addition of a sustainable, collaborative, and socially responsible space.Studio Signs

Evergreen Theatre knew they would not be able to qualify for a traditional loan. After searching for non-traditional funding models and secured funding with the Social Enterprise Fund in Edmonton. After applying and securing a mortgage through the fund, the company was able to purchase their new home and begin revamping the space. Goggin and her team could not be happier with the results, saying “we have partners that are invested more than just financially. They want the entire project to succeed.” The funding through the Social Enterprise Fund also allows Evergreen Theatre to give back to the community in a unique way, with the interest they pay on the mortgage going back in to the endowment fund. “We’re supporting other projects in the community,” Goggin stated, “simply by making mortgage payments.”

Stair Way Correct

When asked about the impact that the new space has had on the community, Goggin was quick to point out that they are the new neighbour in the area and that they want to be respectful of the work already being done to revitalize the area. The introduction of Evergreen Community Spaces to Mayland Heights is just “part of the ongoing resurgence of the north-east”  she said. They’ve begun facilitating access to programming in the community, providing a dozen different programming streams. They’ve also started renting office spaces in the building to create a diverse internal community and to get more people coming through the building. “We want to be known in the community, to have good neighbour connections. True community building is the best form of integration,” said Goggin, excited for the work to be continued in 2016.

The new space is simply beautiful, featuring a brand new cafe, modern rooms for meetings and dance classes, and plenty of local art. Best of all, it’s completely open to the public. Encouraging all Calgarians to come experience Evergreen Theatre’s new home, Goggin said “we have an open door policy. We want people to wander in and poke around.”

Bounce House


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If you had time to think, what would you think about?

Written by Erin Melnychuk, Business Development Manager at Momentum

Everyone has one; an idea that percolates on the back of your mind, that you can never quite get to. I’ve had a few, but there’s one that I haven’t been able to shake. As a Community Economic Development organization, Momentum is often referred to as a social enterprise. In fact, we have a long history of earning our own revenue. However, the knowledge of how to enterprise resides with only a handful of staff. If Momentum really is an enterprising organization, then how can we ensure this part of our identity is embedded in our DNA and expressed through all of our staff? This is the idea that lives on the back burner of my mind that I’ve decided to stop thinking about and begin to do something about.

So how do you actually go about developing an enterprising culture exactly? The answer is, I’m not entirely sure. The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook doesn’t have a chapter on this! The process we’re using consists of 3 functional elements; a staff committee to develop and oversee a work plan, formal learning events, and monthly design labs. The design labs are the secret sauce in this process.

The monthly design labs are a fun and innovative space. Its a few hours every month when staff have permission to drop what they are doing to come and create. It’s a safe space to bring ideas and to receive support from your peers in working up the ideas. There are more bad ideas than good ones and that’s the point.

We’re only a few months in and have learned a few things already. The first: We need to develop a compelling reason why we are pursuing this. We co-created our ‘why’ with staff and have decided that we would like to learn to see opportunities differently through an enterprising lens, build important skills that every staff person can use in their career, and earn a bit of money which will allow us to pursue more new & innovative activity. The second thing we learned is that our staff are really busy and favor the approach of maximizing existing assets by bringing those resources to new markets, rather than developing something from scratch.

Our design labs have already surfaced 7 ideas with potential that are in various stages of development. Four are currently being taken through feasibility testing. Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to launch something by spring!

The reason we all have these ideas that don’t get acted upon is because we generally don’t do work we don’t get paid for (which actually underscores the need for what I’m trying to pursue, but I digress!). Luckily, there’s support out there for groups to get paid to THINK! The opportunity I took advantage of was made possible through ATB’s Time to Think Grant. In my work I rarely have the luxury of ‘time to think’. Heck yeah, I’m applying for that grant! ATB makes this fabulous grant available to organizations, charities, social enterprises, and collectives to be strategic, innovative, and to strengthen their impact in Albertan communities.

Take Action:
• Check out ATB’s Time to Think grant to see if it’s a fit for your initiative
• Learn more about Momentum here
• Has your organization been through a similar process? Tell us about it! We’d love to learn what’s worked well and what’s been challenging. You can email me your story at

2015 Community Economy Leader Award – Muttley Crüe

Muttley Crüe Organics Grooming and Daycare

Each year Thrive takes part in REAP’s Be Local Awards by sponsoring the Community Economy Leader Award. This year we received a number of fantastic submissions, but were truly impressed by Muttley Crüe and their initiatives. Open to all REAP Members, the Community Economy Leader Award recognizes members that are adopting practices to build a resilient community and local economy. They are rooted in Calgary and it shows in how they invest in people and places, are committed to purchasing fellow local businesses, and provide valuable social benefit. Muttley Crüe truly exemplifies all of this and more.

Muttley Crüe

Muttley Crüe Organics Grooming and Daycare

In her video submission for the Community Economy Leader Award, owner Annie Cole said “we try to be as part of our community as possible. One of the biggest things starting Muttley Crüe six years ago was that I didn’t want to be just another building on the block. We want to be part of our community. Our community and this city is what keeps this business and other small business thriving.”

After six years of hard work, Cole and her Crüe have achieved what they set out to do. With a focus on creating partnerships with other local organizations in Calgary, Cole emphasizes that Muttley Crüe relies on “as many local businesses as we possibly can when it comes to products that we use, even what we sell in our retail.” The shampoos and diffusers come from All Things Jill, the cleaners are supplied by Small Planet, and the personalized Muttley Crüe biscuits are made by Bark YYC. Their retail area itself consists of over 60% locally made products.

It isn’t just about their partners in business, though. Muttley Crüe also ensures they are giving back to their community. Partnered with AARCS, the Spay Neuter Task Force, Stardale Women’s Group, and the Veteran’s Food Bank, Cole explained “we have a donation in lieu of a fee for our trial day of boarding.” By allowing new clients to make a minimum $5 donation instead of paying the normal $35 fee, Muttley Crüe is able to support valuable resources and organizations in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Cole is quick to point out that no one has ever left just $5, which led to $2,000 being raised for their chosen charities in just three months.

Muttley Crüe isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In 2016, they plan to begin an apprenticeship program for First Nations women. Muttley Crüe pays for the cost of the six month grooming course, while paying a living wage to the apprentice so that they’re actually making a living to support themselves and their families while learning a trade.

We’d like to offer a big congratulations to Muttley Crüe and Annie Cole for being Thrive’s Community Economy Leader in 2015. They may be a small business, but they have a mighty impact in their community and city. Through their partnerships, local supply chain, outreach to non-profits, and focus on the environment, Muttley Crüe is paving the way to a sustainable future in Calgary.

Take Action:


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Going Further Together

Thrive and Conscious Brands Partner on Leadership Program

This fall, Thrive is teaming up with Conscious Brands to help launch Calgary into the new economy. We are joining forces on a collaborative leadership program, Spiral Table®, providing unique peer-to-peer training for leaders in purpose-driven organizations to accelerate personal and organizational growth.

The initial nudge for the partnership came from Stephanie Jackman, founder of REAP Business Association, and member of the Spiral Table® program. ‘You should really check this out for Thrive’s learning community.’ Intrigued, but unsure about Conscious Brands’ willingness to join forces, Thrive arranged an initial meeting.

The Spiral Table® program seemed like an ideal fit for Thrive, who was seeking ways to provide Calgary leaders in sustainability and social change with opportunities to effectively connect and grow their skills.

Over a quick cup of tea, the synergies between the two organizations became immediately clear. As a result, a partnership to grow the Spiral Table® program in Calgary was born.

This partnership exemplifies one of Conscious Brands guiding principles, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go further, go together” (African proverb). Rather than reinvent the wheel, Thrive is able to adopt an existing program, the Spiral Table®, into their offerings. It provides the structure and processes to deepen relationships and collaborate on effective solutions for a vibrant, new economy in Calgary. At the same time, Conscious Brands, will benefit from the connections Thrive has to local businesses and social innovators via their developed network.

What exactly is the Spiral Table® program?

Spiral Table® is a form of collaborative leadership development, or peer-to-peer learning, created by Conscious Brands. It’s aimed toward leaders and change-makers of purpose-driven organizations, to help them grow and evolve, together. Meeting monthly over the course of one year in groups of 6-8, each session involves dialoguing through the most pressing challenges and opportunities faced by individual members. Backed by thoughtfully cultivated research and facilitation from Conscious Brands, each Spiral Table® effectively becomes its own senior level advisory group, sounding board, and idea generator for the organizations involved.

Collaborative leadership development goes beyond a simple exchange of advice and information. Going further together means a deeper, more connected approach. It requires an environment of trust and vulnerability, and a commitment to the other leaders to help grow their skills and achieve their goals, as well as one’s own.

Rarely in the professional world are we given the time and opportunity to open up in this way, and have a group of mentors in our immediate circle.

It’s this level of reflection and engagement that produces the most meaningful transformations in the participants.

The concept began as a pilot several years ago, and the original Spiral Table® is still going today, 7 years strong. Now, with 4 active Tables and 2 more to start this fall, Conscious Brands can say with certainty that it’s been a game-changer for them and their members – one that is ready to be offered to a broader audience. That’s where Thrive’s vibrant network of local economy leaders comes in.

Take Action:

  • Check out Conscious Brands here. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook, or stay in touch by signing up for their newsletter database.
  • Follow Thrive on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for Thrive’s newsletter database to stay up to date on local happenings that are building a vibrant sustainable local economy in Calgary.
  • Join a Spiral Table® and grow your leadership collaboratively. Contact Barb Davies at Thrive by phone 403-204-2668 or email for details.

Social Worker at Thrive: What? Why? How? So What?

Stephen Ave

What do you think is the best thing about social work? My answer is its scope. As a social worker, you can be almost anything – from an elderly support worker to the Minister of Finance for Alberta. So you probably can imagine how hard it was for me, a social work student, to decide where to do my final community development practicum.

Among all tasks that a social work practicum student can work on I chose to develop curriculum for a local economy workshop series being delivered by Thrive. This activity would help me to understand community economic development (CED) and the role of the local economy in poverty reduction. Working on explaining these concepts to others – that is what the workshops all about – enhanced my understanding immensely.

Thrive’s vision is to build a vibrant and sustainable local economy in Calgary, for all. To have greater impact Thrive fosters learning initiatives and communities of practice that nurture local economy champions. My experience of learning with Thrive may be summarised in several points:

  • Combination of different learning activities. At Thrive, I was offered reading to enhance my knowledge, time to reflect and make my own conclusions, opportunity to discuss my thoughts and apply my ideas into practice.
  • Collaboration. Thrive is a network and its members not only benefit from learning opportunities created by Thrive, but contribute greatly to the pool of such opportunities. As a practicum student I attended events organized by Alberta Community and Cooperative Association (ACCA), Social Innovation Generation (SiG), REAP Calgary, Calgary Eats!, Calgary Economic Development and Momentum. These events gave me a chance to experience a vibrant community of CED practitioners. Their enthusiasm and inspirational ideas of socially and environmentally responsible businesses brought me long-awaited optimism for our common future.
  • Supportive supervision. As any learner, I need a balance of critical discussions and encouragement, appreciation of my skills and experience, and freedom of expression. My supervisors – Barb Davies and Hiroko Nakao – generously gave me all of the above in abundance.
  • Nurturing organizational environment. The integrity of the organization creates an inclusive learning atmosphere and promotes professional growth for all. I knew that it was safe to experiment and make mistakes because mistakes, if discussed and reflected upon, are another source of learning.
  • Fun. Yes, I believe there are many places where learning and work can be fun. However, with Thrive, fun is integral to the work.

During my practicum, I developed curriculum for three workshops: Why Local?, Local Food, and Local Finance, as well as a local economy simulation game. Thrive believes the more people engage in the local economy the more communities will grow. In turn, building community resilience is the shortest way to individual sustainability, social inclusion, poverty elimination, and real democracy. I am proud that the learning experience, rich and fruitful for me personally, ends up as a contribution to this meaningful process of social transformation.

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Written by Hanna Zavrazhyna

Why spend 8 months and $4,800 on formal training in Community Economic Development?

Elisha Kittson, 2014 Graduate, asks fellow alumni.

“The timing was all wrong, but I made a strong case to the Food Bank’s board and my family and jumped in with both feet. Sustainability, the environment, localizing dollars, doing business better. All of these pieces were part of my life journey and in the CED course they were weaving themselves together,” says Barb Davies former Executive Director of the Golden Food Bank and now Coordinator for Thrive, Calgary’s Community Economic Development Network.

It was the ‘learning zone’, a fantabulous (that’s fantastic and fabulous) place.

Where you have to “Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” says Jeanette Nadon, changemaker extraordinaire and Communications Coordinator for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

Change is uncomfortable. But by choice and through professional development, it’s an aware and awake kind of change you’ll come to know as the ‘wonder zone’.

“Through the program I found out that my years in the trenches had given me a wealth of tools for community building, leadership, and innovation that I hadn’t previously recognized. It awakened me to my own power to harness our collective energy and encouraged me to aim higher and dream bigger,” says Stephanie Jackman founder of REAP Calgary’s sustainable business network.

Dream big! You should. And there is another way or two or ten.

“It was interesting to be poked and prodded in such a supportive environment to look at innovation in new ways,” says Damien Bryan, General Manager at Discovery Organics, Western Canada’s largest independent distributor of certified organic and fair trade produce.

“I took the course while I was between opportunities. So it was so synergistic to be offered the position with Discovery straight off the back of the program. I now work for a company directly involved with growers in community development and fair trade models.”

Stellar, right? Personal growth, dream jobs. Amazing. But come inside, there are a few other returns on this eight-month intensive.

Like sheer relief in the host of inspiring advisers and case studies that give life to any would-be balderdash. You’ll come to know reciprocity; gift economies; deep versus wide growth; relocalization; joint sourcing and asset sharing; opportunity development corporations, social enterprises, and community contribution companies; and right-sized community development more intimately. You’ll grasp the ripple effects of social capital, host a study circle, and you might even come away with your very own theory of change.

Done all that? Not to fret, there’s still a reason to harken the call, or open that email from SFU Program Director Nicole Chaland (one more time). Because even a seasoned CED practitioner knows there’s always more to think up.

“I took the program because after five years working in community economic development; I still didn’t have a grasp of the fundamentals. Sure, I knew about lots of tools in the CED toolkit, and I could roughly answer what was and wasn’t CED, and of course I had a sense of why I was doing the work. But I was missing the deep-rooted foundation and the ability to make an argument for my CED worldview that would hold up to critical analysis,” explains Carolyn Davis, who holds a leadership role with Calgary’s community economic development organization Momentum and was recently recognized as one of Calgary’s Top 40 under 40.

Our definitions and explanations of the work in this field is a collective effort. That’s why facilitator Philip Lozano says the social bonds we established through the program are so important.

“CED work is constantly evolving. The course did a great job at challenging my tight definition of CED as well as encouraging me to develop the tools myself to create change. The connections and networks that I’ve established have been incredibly valuable.”

As program alumni, we say go for it. Trust what compels you.

Calgary’s Tool Library co-founder Courtney Hare reminds us it’s all about the journey anyway, “I found what I was looking for and so much more. I didn’t just become more educated or find ‘the answer’, I have a whole lot more perspective and found a place to shape the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of CED.”