Stewardship of Our Future: A Passionate Commitment

January 13th 2021

by the Provender Stewardship Fund Committee


The Provender Stewardship Fund is being established for a pooling of resources from the community of independent businesses committed to the integrity-based values of the natural foods movement. This community of Stewards shall be comprised of companies and individuals dedicated to sustaining Provender Alliance, a membership organization whose mission is to uphold the vision and values of an independent, vibrant, just, and regenerative food system for all. Provender provides nourishment, education, and inspiration to connect to that which is larger than the stresses of current times.

Provender Alliance especially needs you at this juncture. The Provender Stewardship Fund was recently founded by long-time member Gavin McComas of Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene, Oregon, and officially launches now, in January 2021. He wants to support our organization during this financially challenging time. He has been a member for more than 37 years; for Gavin, Provender upholds the dedicated care of the environment, focuses on the well being of the people who grow and produce our food, animal rights, and a just and regenerative future for all.

When he first joined Provender’s board of directors in 1985, Gavin was dismayed that the first topic was whether Provender should disband due to finances.

“I said then, and I’d like to say now that Provender Alliance is really the heart and soul of the natural foods movement — the natural foods movement that embodies the values that I was just mentioning. For better or worse, this evolved into the natural foods “industry,” which kind of co-opted those values and capitalized on them… So many companies now have “values” that are just window dressing for corporations that are really only interested in making money and don’t have true values for how they are on the planet.”

He emphasizes that if we stop seeing the “value in our values” and fail to invest in the education and inspiration that support and reinforce those values, we put the natural foods movement and even our own businesses at risk. Only by upholding our values, genuinely walking our talk will we continue to have a role in the marketplace.

“We need Provender Alliance and Provender Alliance needs us, now more than ever. I urge all businesses that benefit from and identify with the natural foods movement to join Sundance Natural Foods in helping sustain this vital resource. Please join me in helping secure the future of the Provender Alliance and thereby the future of the natural foods movement and our own values-driven businesses. ” 

Gavin further shares about his own commitment to seed the Stewardship Fund:

“Sundance Natural Foods has made a 5-year commitment to support the fund at the rate of 33 dollars a day, or $1,000 a month, which amounts to about 10% of our profits. Please join me in making a monthly commitment to helping sponsor this fund. It can be in for any amount of money for any amount of time. However, Provender Alliance is hoping that businesses will consider $10, $20, or $30 a day ($300, $600 or $900 per month), or more as an appropriate amount, with larger concerns hopefully willing to provide larger amounts.”

While this level of commitment is how Gavin shows his support, whatever pledge amount and time commitment work for your business is gratefully appreciated. Your contribution will provide the means for Provender’s solid footing into the future.

The goal of the Stewardship Fund committee is to reach $5,000 per month in sustaining contributions, and with the generous gift from Gavin McComas of Sundance Natural Foods of $1,000 per month for the next 5 years, we are on our way!



To find out more about the Provender Stewardship Fund and explore the possibility of becoming a Steward with a sustaining contribution that is comfortable for you, click here. You can also contact Provender’s executive director Abigail Harris at 503-859-3600 or by email. Thank you!

To read the full transcript of Gavin’s impassioned speech to the Provender Board of Directors when he announced his founding of the Stewardship Fund,  click here.