The Turn of a Year – The Planting of a Tree

June 29, 2021

As June comes to an end, so does my term as President of Rotary Club of Festival City. In my six years as a Rotarian, I have been eager to see Rotary come forward as an ally in environmental causes ever since I joined a Medical Team and travelled to Mexico in 2016. It was there that I was confronted with the need for plastics education in rural communities, as children were being diagnosed with kidney failure due to burning plastics to heat their food and homes. Then again when Rotary sent me to Sarnia to talk about greening events and projects through Rotary. I met amazing people, doing amazing things, but many were not aware of the life cycle of the waste that finds its way into our lakes. So how fitting in my year as President that Rotary International added “Environment” to its areas of focus.

It is with this lens that Nancy and I approach Beneficial Goods. As a social enterprise, where proceeds from ethical and sustainable product sales are donated to support makers, causes and sponsor initiatives, it’s important that we consider each product and its impact on the environment.

The work of the Ghanaian Women’s Group who make the Shea Butter helps to build the economy and the community in North Ghana. As effective stewards of the environment, the women also take great care to ensure that nothing is wasted when making the product, which includes the use of husks for cooking fuel. Tree regeneration and conservation are also a priority and a part of their sustainable development goals.

Ghanaian Shea Butter Producers

To support the site and it’s costs, and help us generate funds to take on other projects locally and internationally through Beneficial Goods, you may find an “add to cart” item when you shop, such as the “Feel the Love” Greeting Card. A lot of people helped to make this card and the site happen, so when we consider print we honour those relationships and ensure that our needs are printed on 100% recycled material, and manufactured using a gas produced from decomposing landfill waste, free of ancient or endangered forest fibre, and whitened without chlorine. The option to print sustainably is easy, and accessible. A special thanks to Kevin Hill at Commercial Printers for all the information and options. We were even able to find and repurpose unused envelopes from Blowes Stationary in Stratford, Ontario in our efforts to reduce our impact.


It’s because of these efforts that you will sometimes see a strange box or gift bag come to your door with your purchase inside. We are making every effort to reduce, reuse and repurpose the packaging that has found its way to our homes over the last year. If you look closely your package comes with prose (thanks Nancy).

Beneficial Goods Box Poem

On July 1st I will begin my year as Past President. I hope to spend more time learning and growing the Beneficial Goods site and am always interested in your feedback as a supporter of the site and good things. But just before I pass the torch, I announce one final project as President. In partnership with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority we have set aside 200 young trees, to be added to the network of trees on Lorne Ave., in Stratford Ontario. By adding to the treed area that already exists, we support the vibrant ecosystem developing there.

In August we will find out what species are available from the nursery, but they will all be different and native to the area. As long as the province continues to open up and allow for people to gather, members of the Rotary Club of Festival City will spend a day or two with shovels in the ground, to bring together the shared goal of supporting our local environment.

If you would like to get involved, I welcome you to join the tree campaign! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach me here at


Christy Bertrand
Business Partner, Beneficial Goods 
2020-2021 President, Rotary Club of Festival City (Stratford)

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