About One Straw Society
We teach, advocate, grow, build and nurture food security and a local, resilient, and sustainable food system here on the Sunshine Coast.
With hundreds of volunteers, together, we have founded many of the largest farm and food projects and events here on the Sunshine Coast… Farmers’ Markets, Community Gardens, Tool Library, and many more. Ideas? Let’s talk!
It started with a Zucchini Toss and a plant sale out of the back of a pick-up truck. It quickly became Seedy Saturday, the Edible Garden Tour, Roberts Creek Farmers’ Market, Fruit Tree Project, a Community Garden, Fall Faire, and many more community-led projects and learning opportunities.
One Straw Society was founded in 1995 by Robin Wheeler, a leader, author, activist, teacher, and homesteader. Robin used a grassroots approach to connecting people, teaching, and growing and sharing seeds, plants and food. Many of these initiatives and events have become a part of the Sunshine Coast food and garden culture. Meetings were often potlucks, complete with kids and dogs.
Within a few years, membership swelled to over 200, and the focus on food, sustainability, community education, workshops and resiliency remained the focus for the next twenty years.
The term “One Straw” was inspired by The One Straw Revolution, by Masanobu Fukuoka who believed in the power of a single straw to start a revolution.
Hundreds of leaders, volunteers, organizers, creators, and teachers flowed through over the years, and Robin remained the visionary behind One Straw until her passing in 2012. The loss of a founder who had devoted her life and time to the mission was a challenge for the Society to overcome, and a few years later, the Society was facing dissolution. In 2016, the Board recognized the need for rebirth and a plan for long-term sustainability, and so began the journey of the “new” One Straw.
With a grant from Vancouver Coastal Health, community support, and the leadership of Casandra Fletcher, a consultant in Policy Governance and Organizational Capacity Building, the work began. Together, we built a strong framework of sound policy, a strategic plan, and a new governance structure, and the Society blossomed. Within 2 years, membership doubled, budgets quadrupled, and a dozen new projects and programs were built, most through nurturing collaborations and partnerships with the community and other organizations.
In 2021, One Straw Society became a nationally registered Canadian Charity with the help of Paul Myers, and accredited in the United States as a recognized international charity-equivalent, opening the door to support from international funders. By 2023, membership was around 700.
Today, we focus on collaboration, resiliency, and impact through dozens of on-the-ground projects, programs, and events that will help build our local food security and resiliency… year-round hands-on workshops, online speaker series, community gardens, tool libraries, children’s programs, seed-saving initiatives, indigenous education, events, farm to table dinners, subsidized food programs, economic planning and support for farms, research, and many other initiatives.
We like to think of ourselves as a “think tank” for your ideas and projects that will help us all reach our vision and mission, and we continue to grow and be inspired by the people of the Sunshine Coast that make all of this possible.
To see the Sunshine Coast participating in and becoming a role model for a diverse, connected, thriving and sovereign local food system.
One Straw Society’s mission is to provide education, advocacy and community connections, empowering people to access and engage in a local, resilient, and sustainable food system.
As an organization we believe in caring for the earth, caring for people, caring for the future, positive transition and a right to livelihood.