Mark Brand is one of Canada’s most recognized social entrepreneurs in the field of social impact and community development. He is a pioneering chef and he uses food for good. He has become a prominent example of a new generation of leadership.
A fighter for Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, this enigmatic social entrepreneur was determined to breathe new life into the struggling and disjointed community. He’s doing this by finding a balance between sound business practices and social justice.
Save on Meats had been a Vancouver landmark from the time it was originally founded in 1957, serving the local community with a butcher shop and lunch counter. Brand resurrected Save on Meats, restoring the building back to its prime while becoming a leader in the charge to make the social business model independently sustainable, at the same time supporting the local community. Money generated from Save on Meats’ operations go directly towards supporting people in need. The store employs over 65 workers, many of whom live in the community and struggle with employment barriers, and boasts a meal program that serves 450 people per day, seven days a week.
Along with leading his 5 organizations, Brand leads the United Nations Catalyst team focusing on food waste, poverty, and the impacts of current systemic structures on the most marginalized, traveling globally to learn and share best real-world practices and solutions from kitchens and stages alike.
He is a co-founder of Persephone Brewing reigniting cooperative and employee ownership and making an 11-acre farm, farmers markets, a pizza oven making ingredients off the farm, and a barrier employment program– Persephone is a haven for what’s possible.
Brand received Canada’s Golden Jubilee Medal for service to his country and community. He is the co-founder of A Better Life Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising funds to put toward providing food security to those in need.
Most recently Mark launched “BETTER”, an iHeart Original radio show and podcast, bringing tools for us all to live better lives through stories of lived experiences from our most beloved citizens.
At the root of everything he works on, he believes that only true partnership and collaboration can create the successes we need and that there is no “Us and Them, only Us.”