Organic Ocean's mission to donate seafood for as long as it takes to end hunger in our community
Why we are doing this
We started our business by selling fish off of our boats to our neighbours. Word spread and before long we were supplying sustainably harvested and responsibly produced seafood to chefs around the world.
Then the pandemic struck.
When we realized we would no longer be able to get fish to people through restaurants, we decided to return to our roots and figure out how to get safe, tasty and nutritious seafood to our neighbours. This proved more popular than we expected and in early 2021 we extended our reach by offering overnight delivery across Canada enabled by our development of an environmentally friendly, recyclable packaging solution.
An open and flowing seafood value chain kept our fishermen harvesting and our shore-based team fully employed. It also allowed us to make significant donations through Neighbours Helping Neighbours, an initiative that we created to support our community for the duration of the pandemic. Through this program, we contributed to help the Vancouver Aquarium avoid permanent closure. We partnered with the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation to assist those who are addressing social and mental issues, problems which became particularly acute during COVID-19.
The pandemic highlighted the distance we need to go to achieve a social imperative that was identified more than 70 years ago.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
United Nations General Assembly, 10 December, 1948
Partnering with fishermen and fellow processors, we arranged for the first lingcod of the 2020 season to be donated to a number of charitable and nonprofit organizations including Goodly Foods Society, Potluck Café Society, HAVE Culinary Training Society, Union Gospel Mission, A Loving Spoonful and South Hall in the Greater Vancouver Area and to the Toronto-based The Stop Community Food Centre.
When the B.C. spot prawn fishery opened in May 2020, we broke with the tradition of sending the first of the season to the chefs. Instead, we directed the initial catch to a partnership program between Fresh Roots and Growing Chefs! with which delicious, chef-prepared meals were provided to students and their families. The giving didn’t stop there and the list of organizations to which we donate seafood has grown and now includes the Squamish and Langley Food Banks. Since creating the organicocean.com online fish market, we’ve donated enough seafood to create two meals for every order we receive.
Creating a permanent seafood donation program
While that sounds great, it isn’t enough. We are therefore announcing the end of the temporary Neighbours Helping Neighbours program and the launch of Until We Are All Fed which, as the name implies, is intended to provide for the donation of seafood for as long as it takes to end hunger within our community. To be clear, we will continue to support a range of environmental and social causes but our focus will be on donating healthy nutritious seafood to feed those in need.
At Organic Ocean we get the connection among environmental health, social well-being and our business’ success. As a Certified B Corporation, we use our business as a force for good and consider impacts on all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, community and environment in our quest to achieve triple bottom line performance. For us, success is not just reflected in our financial performance.
- Dane Chauvel, Guy Dean and the team at Organic Ocean