Fairground: the not-for-profit arm of ecostore
After years of working in the not-for-profit sector and being frustrated with the amount of time that went into fundraising, Malcolm Rands decided there had to be an easier way to get things done. He knew that if the money was taken care of in a more sustainable way, then the not-for profit could get on with the other stuff it was set up to do.
Malcolm imagined a model in which a not-for-profit was set up in partnership with a philosophically aligned, commercial business and a percentage of profits from the business would then be channelled into the not-for-profit to provide ongoing funding.
Fairground Foundation and ecostore Company Ltd were both created in 1993 to make a difference to the health and eco wellbeing of people and communities. ecostore provides the products and information to make this happen while Fairground tackles projects that require a little more ‘on-the-ground’ action. As Malcolm says,
‘Fairground’s challenge is to imagine the future that we would love to have in 20 year’s time and to make that happen now.’
Growing Organic Kids – Fairground’s first project was working with a local intermediate school to create an organic garden on their grounds. The project ran for a decade and has allowed countless young people to learn about gardening along with natural food options.
Working with artists - Fairground has gifted the 5m billboard outside the ecostore shop to 6 artists to showcase their work. This initiative was inspired by the need for a new ‘renaissance’ in the face of our unprecedented environmental crisis and to explore the kinds of break-though possibilities that art can make available to business – particularly, in the areas of creativity, resourcefulness, and innovation. In the spirit of supporting creativity, the Fairground offices have also been used as an art exhibition space and to showcase the student work of a menswear fashion collective from AUT.
Future-proof neighbourhood - Fairground is working with a wide group of architects, town planners, developers, and building suppliers to look at high-density, eco-housing close to the heart of a major New Zealand city. Malcolm brings to this project his experience of founding one of New Zealand’s first permaculture eco-villages.
I want to commercialise ideas that have been put into the ‘too hard’ basket, that’s why I’m working with some of New Zealand’s best architects on the concept of an urban ecovillage, he explains. There are plenty of rural eco-villages that have been developed around the world and we can take a lot of lessons from them – we want to build ours right in the heart of the city, though.
With the population increasing and becoming more urbanised, Fairground and ecostore believe it is imperative to create practical, commercially successful green solutions for healthy housing and sustainable living. Fairground’s plan is to create this vibrant, healthy, urban ‘future-proof neighbourhood’ that becomes so successful that it will be copied by developers worldwide.