December 2011 Issue

Share |
Décembre, 2011
Otesha spelled with bodies header with bikes
Riding on Hope

The Otesha Project's Monthly Newsletter

December 2011
"Gearing up" for the holidays
Otesha News
O-lumnus Spotlight

Donate to The Otesha Project via CanadaHelps  

CanadaHElps - Donate Now

Find us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our videos on YouTube

"Gearing up" for the holidays  


It's that festive time of year again! It gets colder and we all find new and creative ways to get cozy through the winter. From cuddling under a thick blanket to warm toes to carefully creating crafts to warm hearts, it's a season when we are often reminded of the strength of our communities and to think of the welfare of others. At Otesha, this time of year brings all sorts of new friends from the Organic Affair, new bike tour applicants following the new bike tour season's announcements and new creative ways to make the most sustainable lifestyle choices we can.

Whether you decide to curl up with a mug of fair trade hot chocolate, make a holiday donation to your favourite charity or choose to make ethical consumer choices this season, The Otesha Project wishes you a sustainable and happy December!

Grab life by the handlebars: apply early for an Otesha Bike Tour 

 Grab life by the handlebars

The Otesha Project has announced its 2012 slate of Bike Tours! We are now accepting applications for our two-month tours where we'll be travelling along the East Coast and cycling about Ontario to learn more about food and water systems. BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE. We'll be waiving the application fee for the rest of 2011, so shift into high gear and apply early. Stay tuned in 2012 for more on our 9-Day Shift Tour!


Job Opportunity: Communications CoordinatorOtesha Tabling


The Otesha Project is seeking a part-time, competent, and enthusiastic Communications Coordinator. The successful candidate will work as a member of a four-person staff team and will be responsible for implementing the organization's external communications, promotion, marketing and community outreach. The successful candidate will be a team-builder who leads by example with a demonstrated ability to accomplish near and long-term goals. Click here for more details!


Otesha's Organic Affair in Ottawa was a HUGE success!


Matt and Jim 2To our Otesha community: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your support! With almost 400 guests and 30 volunteers, there was a lot of Otesha love and support packed into one room. The members of the Otesha community in attendance worked together to consume 47 harvest loaves and over 400 cups of organic fair-trade coffee during the afternoon tea celebration. The event featured showcases of three O-lumni social enterprises and a speech by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. A special thanks goes to our volunteers from Katimavik, Canada World Youth, students from the Event Management program at Algonquin College and our Otesha O-lumni. From counting dishes and baking for over six hours, to setting tables and serving tea and coffee--we could not have done it without you!


Coming in 2012: The Otesha Project's new social venture program!


The Organic Affair in Ottawa marked the official announcement of The Otesha Project's new social venture program. The goal of our new social venture program is to help O-lumni and other youth to take their ideas for change-making initiatives in their personal lives, communities and workplaces and turn them into a reality. By matching mentors and young entrepreneurs, providing a supportive environment of encouragement, mentorship, educational resources and seed-funding, the program aims to empower young, enthusiastic change-makers in developing innovative projects and social enterprises.Organic Affair in Ottawa 2011 - Twinkles 2


Creating global change must start with local change. And we at Otesha want to support the new and creative ventures that will provide Canadians with more options for sustainable lifestyles.

We invite you to join us and be a part of this (ad)venture. Contact Shirley if you'd like more information on being an advisor for curriculum development or to sponsor an award to launch an event, campaign or business!

O-lumnus Spotlight: Social (ad)venture is Chad's business  


Chad Hamre

Chad Hamre (2003 Coast to Coast O-lumnus) has made sustainable social enterprising his business since he returned from his Otesha tour in 2003. Chad graduated from the University of Saskatchewan engineering program and shortly thereafter moved to Calgary. Chad began working for a $40-billion dollar oil company on the 63rd floor of a skyscraper to maximize efficiency in oil recovery. He was making good money and was an ambitious up-and-comer embarking on a new adventure in a new city to start a new chapter of his life. Then one day Chad received a phone call that changed his life.


Chad's good friend, Levi Goertz (2003 Coast to Coast O-lumnus), left a voicemail message from Fernie, BC asking Chad to join the team. Chad hit the road, picked up Ed Gillis (2003 Coast to Coast O-lumnus) on the way and joined approximately two-dozen Otesha tour members in British Columbia for the weekend, returning back to Alberta in time for work the next week.


Chad - Otesha presentation

Over the course of that week, Chad thought hard about his everyday choices. He craved more of the Otesha experience, so he reunited with the team the following weekend. Chad's restlessness remained. He wanted to be a part of The Otesha Project, but he had just moved to a new city to take a new job and joining the team "was a total non-option," he remembers.


A few simple words from his roommate brought clear perspective to Chad's situation: "Dude, if you really want to do this, just do it." Chad realized that his roommate was right, so he followed his heart. Much to the shock of his colleagues and family, he submitted his two-weeks' notice at work and hit the road with the Otesha team.


"It's been a long time since then, but I've never made decisions the same way. My world view had changed," Chad explains. "When Jess and Joce used to tell their story, it was really about roots." He describes that the group's set of values on tour evolved. "That message started simplifying for me. I look back and it wasn't about how organic food is awesome. It's about understanding the impact of our individual actions. None of us ate meat. That's the behaviour, but the bigger principle is being conscious of ways to live sustainably."


Chad ploughing ZambiaAfter tour, Chad became financially self-sufficient and worked for the Production Finance and Improved Technology Program in Zambia with Engineers Without Borders as a liaison to mobilize veterinarians to create self-sustaining relationships with cattle owners. "I feel like everyone has different access to opportunities based on where we're born. I decided while in Zambia that I liked working with rural communities to improve their access to opportunities."


Chad went on to develop the SCALA Computer Livelihoods Project in the Philippines and earned his Master's in Development Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science, working toward his long-term goal "to help people start ethical business". He also worked as a climate change consultant. "It was a good experience," Chad notes, "but it wasn't direct enough impact. That's when I started Ethical Ocean."


Ethical Ocean logoAfter two years of visioning, finding investors and developing the company, Ethical Ocean opened for business in 2011. Chad is now the Co-Founder and CEO of the online marketplace that provides a variety of ethically-sourced products, all in one place. "The social impact drives us," he notes. The company informs its customers about the company practices and impacts of each product so that they can decide which products best match their own values regarding ethical and sustainable shopping.


Ethical Ocean teamEthical Ocean has notably appeared on CBC's Dragon's Den, a television show in which Ethical Ocean team members pitched their business model to a panel of potential investors. Despite being dubbed as "a stain on the face of capitalism" by Kevin O'Leary*, the Ethical Ocean team persisted. "In the end we made a deal with Arlene [Dickinson]," Chad acknowledges, "and 2.4 million Canadians watched the show."


When asked how Ethical Ocean is doing now, you can hear the excitement in Chad's voice. "Every month we grow 50%. It's the hardest I've ever worked for sure, but it's super satisfying and we believe in what we're doing."   


*BONUS: Check out Ethical Ocean's Youtube channel for the "You are a stain on the face of capitalism" remix! 


Postcard of the Month

Otesha Hope Postcard


After every Otesha presentation, we invite our audience members to change the world by committing to one new hopeful action. Each individual writes the action on the back of an Otesha postcard and returns it to us.
They are our proof that we are building a movement. Here's one of our favourites:



"turn all the lights out when I'm not using them, eat whole foods"

 --Mason Yue, age 14, Vancouver, BC

Wish List
If YOU are wishing for some table settings, your wish is our command!
Here at The Otesha Project's office, we have a large stock of second-hand teacups and saucers, small plates, spoons and forks and now, locally-made tablecloths produced from second-hand fabric! We'd love to share our resources, so give us a call (1-613-237-6065) if you'd like to use these items at your next event. The dishes and cutlery can be borrowed for settings of up to 400 people, and we have enough round tablecloths for 25 tables. 

The Otesha Project can always use one-sided 8.5"x 11" white office paper, aka one side is used! Help us help your paper to fulfill its lifelong wish to have both sides printed before it reaches the recycling bin. 
Drop offs are welcome between 9am and 5pm
from Monday to Thursday at The Otesha Office (153 Chapel St.) 
The Otesha Project | 153 Chapel Street | Ottawa | Ontario | K1N 1H5 | Canada