Enabling a national network of resilient and economically empowered, place-based communities.

Strong communities rest on strong community economies.

At Shorefast, we are passionate about answering the question

“How can we create an economy in service of
nature and culture – in service of place?”

 We think that part of the answer lies in grounding economies in the places where people live: local communities. When we build equitable and regenerative community economies, we’re building the foundation for a global economic order that serves the full ecosystem of life on our planet.

The Community Economies Pilot
July 2021 – June 2022

Shorefast’s year-long, pan-Canadian Community Economies Pilot aimed to answer the question, “How do we strengthen community economies?” With network-building and collaborative learning as  goals of the Pilot, Shorefast engaged 17 organizations spanning community development, philanthropic, financial, and public sectors, as well as five enterprising partner communities to contribute to our learnings and help inform our emerging Community Economies Program.

Below are the key resources created in collaboration with leading experts and strategic partners through the Pilot.

Community Economies Reports

Business Assistance Fund

Business is a tool that belongs to all of us. It is a means to develop the capacities inherent in people and communities, to generate employment and build meaningful connections between people and places. Modelled after the Nobel Prize-winning Grameen Bank, the Shorefast Business Assistance Fund provides micro-loans on friendly terms to start or develop locally-owned businesses on Fogo Island. It has supported ventures of varying shapes and sizes, including tourism operators, hospitality establishments, and restaurants.

For residents of Fogo Island or Change Islands who are interested in applying for a friendly loan through Shorefast’s Business Assistance Fund, please contact programmes@shorefast.org.

Every day we make choices about how we spend our money. Most people want to make buying decisions that have a positive impact on their community and the planet. Likewise, many businesses want to showcase how their sourcing and employment principles have this same positive impact.

But what do you really know about the price you’re paying?

Price alone is not telling the full story.

Information about “where the money goes” is rarely available at the point of purchase. Due to the complexity of modern supply networks and ownership structures, it can be difficult to define your dollar’s impact along the input chain.

What is Economic Nutrition?

Economic Nutrition labels are modeled after food nutrition labels, which help consumers understand the ingredients and nutrition levels of a food product so they can make informed choices. Following that same logic, Shorefast’s Economic Nutrition labels show the financial information behind any product or service, empowering consumers to understand how their purchase impacts  the economic health of communities.

The label shows what your money pays for and the percent of every dollar that goes to expenses like labour, materials, or marketing. It also shows where your money goes, so you can see the geographic distribution of every dollar spent.

Economic Nutrition is a new way to encourage businesses and consumers to invest in the future of local economies.

Why does it matter?

When businesses can show the finances behind their products, customers have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. Economic Nutrition empowers consumers to choose products and businesses that support local economies so that every purchase becomes a meaningful investment.

How do I read an Economic Nutrition Label?

The information along the top of the label includes the business name, type of business structure, and unit of measure, giving a frame of reference for what is about to be shared (product, service, or whole business unit).

Information is then broken into two parts:

What does the money pay for?

This section breaks down the percentage of the purchase price as it is reinvested in input costs. Expense categories (such as labour, admin, etc.) are intended to be broad enough to relate to a wide range of readers, while comprehensive enough in scope that they can be used across industries, products, and services.

Where does the money go?

This section identifies where the money used to source inputs lands geographically across four categories: local, regional, national, and international. “Local” represents a municipal area (city, town, or community). The next largest unit of measure, in Canada, is “Provincial.”


Economic Nutrition is a Certification Mark used under license from Shorefast and is currently being piloted for more widespread use. Businesses agree to follow a series of guidelines to ensure consistency in the display of values and accuracy of information presented.

Economic Nutrition is an initiative of Shorefast and part of the organization’s Community Economies program. The idea emerged on Fogo Island as a transparency tool for Shorefast’s community enterprises.

Back to Our Work

Shorefast creates and shares new ways to care for the health of coastal and oceanic ecosystems while supporting the culture of people whose lives and livelihoods are linked to the sea.  

Through multi-pronged initiatives, we seek to achieve the following:  

• Build awareness of Fogo Island’s waterways and the Labrador Current as critical to helping meet the climate challenge.   

• Engage with community members in environmental stewardship practices on Fogo Island and look for ways to adapt our learnings for other coastal and rural communities.

• Facilitate research that expands our knowledge of Fogo Island’s natural environment.

•Promote responsible development of our natural assets, including marine and other wildlife, geology, and land vegetation.

Today, Shorefast’s five major Environmental Stewardship initiatives are:

Habitat Stewardship and Conservation

Shorefast is involved in initiatives that promote habitat stewardship and conservation efforts. Some of these initiatives are funded via a partnership with Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) Coastal Communities Conservation Opportunities Initiative (CCCOI). Shorefast also facilitates research inputs by leveraging our community relationships with fishers and other practitioners.

Examples Include:

    • Facilitating data collection regarding lobster stocks, capelin, and oceanographic information (temperature and sea level data). These inputs are returned to DFO to help build local data sets.
    • Organizing and executing shoreline clean-ups.
    • Installing seabins to reduce marine debris.
    • Youth projects including constructing and installing eider duck shelters with students on Change Islands, facilitating conservation-themed guest speakers at Fogo Island Central Academy, and World Ocean’s Day programming in collaboration with the Town of Fogo Island and other local organizations.

Sustainable Harvest: Seaweed Pilot Project

Alongside the Fogo Island Co-operative Society, Shorefast is leading research and development towards the establishment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s first commercial seaweed cultivation operation in the name of economic diversification and climate preparedness. We are partnered with Marine Institute (MI) at Memorial University of Newfoundland on this initiative, and Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is our funding partner.

Both Shorefast and the Fogo Island Co-operative Society believe deeply in the potential benefits of seaweed cultivation, which include significant carbon sequestering properties as well as habitat enhancement for existing species such as lobster. If seaweed cultivation proves successful in our waters, this crop could represent a significant economic diversification potential for Fogo Island and contribute to local and global food security.

Shorefast is seeking to lay groundwork for commercial seaweed cultivation such that local fishers can take on seaweed as an addition to their existing harvesting businesses, and the Co-op can add seaweed processing to their business model.

Sustainability Planning

In 2021, Shorefast began a concerted, organization-wide sustainability and waste audit process to work towards a deeper understanding of our organization’s environmental impact and to strengthen our internal culture of environmental stewardship.

We are partnered with Newfoundland-based climate action consulting firm Fundamental Inc. to establish our own internal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission inventory and develop the Shorefast environmental policy and mission statement. We’re building internal capacity and identifying our cross-functional environmental leadership team and data reporting structures.

Starting with our own projects and businesses, we’re developing a model for similar organizations and communities to take a GHG inventory and set goals towards improving upon waste and carbon outputs. Our work can help create a roadmap for doing this complex, intensive work so as to be scaled and replicated by other organizations and communities around the globe. We plan to create and offer resources about this process in the not-too distant future.


Shorefast invites experts in various fields to come to Fogo Island to share their specialized knowledge with the community and lead public programming. Experts include geologists who lead educational hikes and host youth programming at our Geology Centre.

Community Science

Shorefast runs or participates in several Community Science initiatives which engage members of the general public in on-the-ground research.

These include: Summer youth programming that allows school-aged children to participate in workshops themed around marine debris and aquatic invasive species; training and research activities in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; an Ocean Atlas project, which aims to build an online platform to share data about the natural environment around Fogo Island with community members; and more.

Back to Our Work

Heritage Preservation

Shorefast has invested in restoring over 20 heritage properties, including homes, churches, and public buildings in order to preserve, share, and foster contemporary relevance for the traditional ways of knowing that tie people to place.

The wooden structures of Fogo Island have withstood the harshest Northeast gales. The good news? Salt air preserves, and there is a lot of life left in even the most neglected of buildings in our community.

Devoted to knowledge preservation as well as encouraging engagement with the heritage assets of the inshore fishery, the Punt Premises is one example of Shorefast’s many heritage restoration projects.

The Punt Premises is home to Shorefast’s fleet of punt boats and an evolving curation of cultural artifacts including cod traps, boatbuilding tools, fishing gear, photos, and other noteworthy items that are associated with the traditional inshore fishery. The Punt Premises brings to life how a family made a living in the vibrant inshore fishing era on which our outport culture was founded. It has become a platform for a range of cultural and community engagement activities

Back to Our Work

Youth Programming

Shorefast is committed to leveraging our internal organizational capacity in service of the next generation of community leaders. We dedicate time and resources to four major initiatives in collaboration with our local school, teachers, and students.

Mentorship Program and Career Growth

We provide job shadowing opportunities for grades 10-12 at Shorefast workplaces—including Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island Workshops, construction/facilities management, and business supports—where they can engage with staff and learn about future career paths on Fogo Island.

Fogo Island Scholarship Lottery

Our yearly lottery raises funds for Fogo Island Central Academy graduating students attending any form of post-secondary education, with a proportional amount sent to A.R. Scammell Academy on Change Islands. To receive scholarship funds, students are asked to write an opinion-based essay or create a work of art, which is displayed in a celebratory public exhibition at the Punt Premises.

School Garden

We partner with teachers at Fogo Island Central Academy to plant small-scale vegetable plots with the younger students. Through this initiative, children are introduced to a range of plants and vegetables that grow well in our specific climate and start to become familiar with issues of food security and nutrition.

Guest Speakers and Other Special Appearances

On a monthly basis, Shorefast facilitates guest speakers on various subjects at Fogo Island Central Academy. Many talks are related to our Environmental Stewardship work, though other practitioners (artists, architects, chefs) have been known to make appearances.