Conrad Grebel University College
140 Westmount Road North
Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G6
Success takes on many different meanings to alumni of the Epp Peace Incubator program. Some alumni are still working on their ventures, while others have taken their learnings to make a meaningful impact elsewhere. We caught up with Jessie Reesor Rempel of Pastors in Exile (PiE) and Elle Crevits of Food Not Waste to reflect on their time in the incubator program and learn about where they are now.
Pastors in Exile continues to provide pastoral care for young adults in Waterloo Region, now working out of an office at Waterloo-Kitchener United Mennonite Church. PiE’s focus in the incubator program was about getting structures in place to become a non-profit and charitable organization. Jessie noted that because she was trained in being a pastor, having a place to go to understand this process, coupled with peer support, was extremely valuable for PiE.
Despite some recent organizational and staffing changes, PiE’s core identity and commitment to being nimble remains. Jessie is giving back to the program by sharing her learnings with current participants as a member of the incubator’s Mentorship Circle. For those thinking about starting something, Jessie reflects on her own journey of starting PiE noting, “Don’t be afraid to start something on the side and see how it grows and where it goes!”
Participants in our incubator focus on diverse problem domains and achieve different kinds of impacts. Frustrated by the amount of food going into our landfills and the rising number of hungry people, Food Not Waste partnered with businesses to redistribute surplus food for emergency food organizations in novel ways that built community. Although their initial pilot was successful, Elle and her co-founder Jonathan recognized the overwhelming complexity of tackling two large and fundamentally different problems, and that it was not the right time to start a new program in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Although Food Not Waste is no longer operating, they did inject new partners and a new approach into our region’s food assistance system. And Elle’s entrepreneurial spirit lives on, as she has applied her experience toward creating empowering and healthy food emergency food assistance programs in her full-time role with the Parkdale Food Centre in Ottawa. Elle is also teaching sourdough bread making workshops, recognizing the role good food can play in sparking community conversations about food systems through her new venture, Elle Est Verte.
Jessie and Elle are two examples of incubator alumni and participants who are building peace through social innovation. To start a conversation about joining our Epp Peace Incubator, contact Paul or Amy.