Ann DeLaVergne Recognized for Community Work Through Women Helping Women Award
The Women Helping Women award recognizes outstanding work done by women in business to reach out and work with women in the community. In 2002, Ann founded ecoEnvelopes LLC with patented designs for eco-friendly 2-Way envelopes, packaging and office supplies that reduce costs and engage consumers in conservation. In 2010, Ann assumed the Board Chairperson position and devoted more of her time to her passion for community work. She established Our Community Foods Projects (OCFP) to increase access to healthy food in low wealth and minority communities by establishing community gardens where people live. It is through this work that Ann works with and encourages women in community to start small businesses around food systems to improve food security and economic security
An example of the work is with Rose Acayo. Rose emigrated from Sudan 9 years ago where she and her family farmed as a way of life. OCFP hired Rose to manage a community garden where Rose attends English Language classes. Empowering Rose to use her farming skills to support other gardeners and manage the day to day needs of the garden enabled her to grow food traditional foods for her family, help pay for college for her two adult sons, open a checking account and pay for a cell phone. Since mid-2013 Ann and Rose have cultivated a greenhouse business selling transplants to other community gardeners. The goal is to have the greenhouse business provide a skilled job for Rose earning money from the business of selling transplants. This will be the first year the greenhouse will be in operation at the garden. During this time the garden grew from 6 to 30 gardeners. Rose managed day-to-day operations with Ann collaborating on larger projects such as adding an irrigation system to the garden. Ann supported Rose’s leadership skills, providing guidance on how to manage the community garden and greenhouse.
“Building communities by supporting others in their work to shape a sustainable future combines two of my greatest passions,” said Ann DeLaVergne. “I am honored to receive this award. I learned valuable lessons launching ecoEnvelopes and it is rewarding to be able to mentor other women in the community while at the same time increasing access to healthy food.”