In 1990, following a number of significant local awareness-raising events initiated by citizens and community organizations, Mayor Sylvia Sutherland created the Mayor’s Committee on Sustainable Development – one of the first in Canada.
With an initial grant secured through the Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), a report was commissioned to explore local solutions to complex, global environmental issues. The result was a visionary document, The Task Force on Sustainable Development for the Peterborough Area, which included the recommendation to form GreenUP, a hub for collaborative, community-based action.
Around this same time, Cathy Dueck began the Peterborough Ecology Garden, which was then located on Rogers Street. The Garden began as a demonstration organic food garden, and expanded to showcase the use and preservation of local plant and tree species.
In 1992, after being incubated as a project of KWIC, GreenUP formally incorporated. In 1993, the Ecology Garden joined GreenUP to establish the Ecology Park at Beavermead, where it remains today, a vibrant and treasured native plant and tree nursery, and ecological demonstration centre. Between 1990 and 1995, environmental sustainability was a priority for the Provincial Government, and during its first few years, GreenUP received significant funding to develop the organization and its programming. At this time, GreenUP was seen as a model for supporting meaningful on-the-ground action, both nationally and internationally, and other communities were eager to develop similar organizations. To facilitate this, Green Communities Canada was launched in 1995 as a national network of local environmental organizations – GreenUP was a founding partner and remains an organizational member today.
In 1996, GreenUP’s provincial funding was cut and many programs were unable to continue. Fortunately, the City of Peterborough and the Peterborough Utilities Group responded with a commitment to support local environmental programs by providing essential funding to GreenUP.
Over the last 20 years, GreenUP has gradually increased its capacity and programming, successfully securing funding from all levels of government, private foundations, businesses, and individual donors, as well as through fee-for-service programs and revenue from our two social enterprises – the GreenUP Store and Resource Centre and the GreenUP Ecology Park Native Plant and Tree Nursery.
The City of Peterborough continues to provide critical funding to GreenUP through its Community Service Grant Program. This funding helps to establish the core organizational capacity that is necessary to secure the ongoing investments and grants required to sustain and grow our vital programming. The Peterborough Utilities Group also continues to support GreenUP by funding essential conservation and education programs.
In 2018, with a number of multi-year Ontario Trillium Foundation-funded programs underway, GreenUP has experienced unprecedented growth. Our programs are broader reaching than ever before, and our ability to influence the complex systems that shape our built environment has never been greater. It’s an exciting time for GreenUP, and while we will continue to rely on diverse grants to support our activities, we are committed to charting a clear and strategic direction.
Over the next five years, GreenUP’s work will be guided by the Strategic Priorities identified within the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. With the continued support from core partners, funders, and the Peterborough community, we will build upon this legacy of lasting, meaningful change.