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This month in social innovation

Do you to want to know what good ideas are solving problems around the world? Here is a selection of some inspiring news from February!

Peace by Chocolate pledges to hire 50 refugees, mentor 10 refugee startups
A chocolate company founded by a family who fled violence in Syria is now pledging to work with 50 refugees and mentor 10 Canadian startups run by refugees over the next few years. Tareq Hadhad, who works as CEO of his family’s business Peace by Chocolate, said he wants to share with newcomers what he’s learned about the logistics of getting a business off the ground — from registration and marketing to sales and distribution.

How Removing Asphalt Is Softening Our Cities
Montreal has an official Ruelle Verte (“Green Alley”) program encompassing more than 250 back routes that have been turned into gardens, play spaces, and neighborhood gathering spots. And in Detroit, a green-business incubator and a brewery teamed up to do a demonstration Green Alley project with absorbent pavers and native plants. It went so well, the neighborhood treats the area like a minipark—people even take formal photos there.

Interactive fruit tree map highlights free food in Toronto
There are over 10 million trees in Toronto — more than 20,000 of which are fruit-bearing trees, on public land, where anyone is welcome to forage and keep what they find. Want to score some free plums or mulberries on your way home from work this afternoon? The map allows anyone to search for productive, fruiting tree species on public property in Toronto by size, location, type of fruit and time of year.

Mennonite farmer dips his toe into e-commerce
Since the fall of 2018, Mr. Martin has been working with NIKU Farms, a Toronto-based e-commerce startup that is bringing the tradition of farmer’s markets online by creating a site where Greater Toronto Area consumers can order curated boxes of ethically sourced meat directly from local farmers without having to leave the city.

Machu Picchu is now wheelchair accessible
Travel company Wheel the World has developed the first-ever wheelchair-accessible tour of the iconic site in Peru, which is considered one of the wonders of the world. The only drawback is that this wheelchair can’t be self-propelled, so it does require a travel companion to help operate the chair and navigate it through some of the narrower or more difficult passes along the trail.

Kids in wheelchairs can stay warm at recess thanks to one family’s ingenuity
A 9-year-old girl who almost gave up on recess because it took too long to bundle up has joined her mom in helping other kids around the world. Zoey Harrison loves playing outside with her friends, but was running into some trouble when it came to keeping warm while sitting in her wheelchair. In winter of 2017, Zoey asked her mom to make something that didn’t take long to put on so she could play outside at recess.

Toronto’s Newest Skyscaper Will Be Completely Covered In Trees
Toronto will be home to a 27-floor “vertical forest”, proving that green space is not confined to the ground. According to architecture firm, Brisbin Brook Beynon, “We have a lot of depth of specialty in this area in Toronto, with horticultural and agricultural universities and research facilities,” he says, “and we’ve brought a lot of together to take a very science-based approach to developing this project.”

When the chefs of Joe Beef gave up alcohol, their whole restaurant changed
“As chefs we are asked constantly to do charity work. But I realized that when I have staff members who need to go see a therapist, I don’t have $100 to give them. The fact is we’re a motley crew of pirates who all need to speak to someone a bit. So we’re working to form a registered charity to have professional therapists assess restaurant workers and then be able to send them either to therapy or to a rehabilitation center. It’s baby steps.”

Canada Goose unveils parkas designed by Inuit designers
The designers come from nine communities in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada Goose asked each seamstress to create a unique design as part of a new collection called Project Atigi — which is an Inuktitut word for parka. The money from these sales will go to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a national organization that advocates for the rights and interests of about 60,000 Inuit in Canada.

How to make a waste incinerator popular? Put a ski slope on it
It might be the first waste incinerator the neighbours actually want next door. The shop at the foot of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy project in Copenhagen is packed with families desperate to be among the first to try its unique selling point: the ski slope on the roof. The building is wrapped in a facade of aluminium planters which will later drip with greenery.

Last word:

Pastor blends faith, farms to end food insecurity.

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