Curating farms and hair care: Welcoming Grebel Peace Incubator’s latest ventures

Monday, December 20, 2021
by Emily Charron

Since 2014, The Grebel Peace Incubator has supported two dozen peace start-ups as they innovate solutions to address local and global community challenges. During the fall term, the Centre for Peace Advancement was overjoyed to welcome two new ventures: Green Care Farms Inc. and BeBlended.

 

Person walks through field of sunflowers

Green Care Farms provides a nature-infused agricultural program for people with dementia. Their day program acts as a safe space for people with dementia to engage with a healthy environment and feel stimulated, all while giving some respite for their families and care partners. Green Care Farms Inc.’s founder Rebekah Churchyard developed this care model in Canada after witnessing the effects of dementia on her own family.

Rebekah spent time researching the concept of Green Care Farms, a model already operating in the United States and Europe, while studying at the University of Toronto, and decided to take her idea to the next step by launching the venture with the goal of opening in Spring 2022. Rebekah is an MSW, psychotherapist, and project management professional. Her research in geriatric services, credentials, and prior experiences with non-profits make her well equipped for the new challenge.

 

Aileen Agada smiles in hair salon

BeBlended is another venture that is making moves to combine social change with innovation. Founded by Aileen Agada, BeBlended is an online tool that connects Black women with hairstylists who specify in afro-textured hair. Much like Green Care Farms Inc., BeBlended was born out of Aileen’s own challenges when searching for a hairstylist who had the skills and knowledge to work with her hair type. Aileen later realized that her struggle was not unique – in fact, over 90% of Black women in Canada cannot simply walk into a salon and have their hair needs met. This overwhelming statistic and her own difficulties led Aileen to create BeBlended.

BeBlended’s online tool is simple and easy to use. Patrons can search for a hairstylist in their region and sort through the options based on reviews. Not only does BeBlended provide a safe space for Black women to get their beauty needs met, but it also supports Black owned businesses and other Black female entrepreneurs.

Aileen is currently pursuing her Master of Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology (MBET) at the University of Waterloo, all while BeBlended continues to grow with the help of programs like GreenHouse, NEXT36, Concept, and now, the Grebel Peace Incubator. BeBlended has already launched online resources for beauty tips, haircare, and networking opportunities.

As both Green Care Farms Inc. and BeBlended continue to launch and expand their ventures, their commitment to peace, justice, and innovation is undeniable. These ventures were drawn to the Centre for Peace Advancement because of its culture around social change and community mindedness. The Centre is always on the search for ventures and ideas that uplift innovation through social change.


Stay tuned on our website for updates on Green Care Farms Inc. and BeBlended in 2022.  

If you are interested in joining the unique community of peace and justice-minded individuals at the Centre for Peace Advancement, reach out to Director Paul Heidebrecht at paul.heidebrecht@uwaterloo.ca.