Author Archives: Daniel Bida

Member Update: August 2013

ZooShare receives FIT contract!

The past 2-3 months have been incredible for ZooShare. Your co-op successfully reached three key milestones: 1. On July 3, we received word from the Ontario Power Authority that we were one of the lucky recipients of a Feed-in Tariff contract offer (extra thanks to all our members that signed FIT declarations last Fall!); 2. On June 11, ZooShare executed an agreement with one of Canada’s largest grocery retailers to provide organic waste from GTA-based grocery stores; and 3. We submitted our Offering Statement to the Financial Services Commissioner of Ontario (FSCO), for approval to begin selling Community Bonds.

Now we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work – there is much left to do to make our dream of community-owned biogas at the Toronto Zoo, a reality. Over the next 6 months, ZooShare will be focused on getting Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of Environment, completing the Connection Impact Assessment with Toronto Hydro, and selling our Community Bonds to people like yourself, who share our vision and love of poo.

Annual General Meeting

On June 13, ZooShare held its AGM at the Verity Club in Toronto. It was great to meet those of you came out, and we had some amazing candidates step forward as nominees for the two Board seats up for election.
We are very pleased to welcome Tom Ferencevic and welcome back John Nicholson to the Board. Tom brings a wealth of experience working in Ontario’s biogas industry as a developer and technology supplier, while John continues to provide strong support to our approval process and feedstock negotiations as an environmental engineer who’s been working in the waste management industry for 16 years.

That night, we also passed two by-law revisions: 1. To expand the Board to 7 members upon receipt of FIT offer; and 2. To formally give the Toronto Zoo a permanent seat on the Board. The second was important for us to recognize that the Zoo is much more than a landowner and poo supplier to us, but also a key part of the reason ZooShare exists in the first place. Their continued leadership and perspective as one of the top conservation organizations in the world is a valuable asset for us.

RRSP Eligibility

Many of you have asked about if and when our bonds will be RRSP/RESP/TFSA eligible, and unfortunately, the process for allowing bonds to be held in registered accounts is not going as smoothly we had hoped. Our friends at SolarShare, who have been selling bonds since last year, have been working hard to get the banks and credit unions to understand the bonds and their eligibility. However, to date, none of these institutions has agreed to allow registered account holders to hold Community Bonds. We will continue working on this issue and communicate any changes to you, but for the time being, our bonds will not be eligible.

If you are looking for an alternative tax efficient investment strategy, we suggest you consider putting the bonds in your children’s names. That way, taxes on interest payments are kept to a minimum and your kids can tell their friends that poo paid for their education! Please contact us (and your tax professional) if you’d like to learn more.

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Member Update: May 2013

An Update from our Executive Director

Hope you’re having a lovely start to the Spring! The year started off very well for us – after submitting our Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) application just before Christmas, we sold out the ZooShare Founders’ Club on January 6, reaching our target of $400,000!

Once the FIT window closed, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) acknowledged that almost 4,000 applications were received, totalling more than 800 MW of generating capacity (97% were for solar projects) – four times the 200 MW of capacity that will be awarded! The OPA reiterated that they would be issuing these contract offers in Q2 of this year. Based on our criteria points, the community power set aside, and our original February 2011 timestamp, we continue to be confident that an offer will be made to ZooShare.

We hosted an exciting marketing roundtable in February with our partners the Toronto Zoo, Bullfrog Power and the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative (TREC) to develop a marketing strategy for our Community Bonds. The session yielded great ideas, and we would like to thank these forward-thinking organizations for their contributions and ongoing support of ZooShare. Also in February, we proudly became members of the Local Organic Food Co-operatives network, an Ontario-based network to educate and advocate for food co-ops, facilitate their growth, and connect regional food processing and distribution hubs. As an organization that is focused on turning food waste into valuable energy and fertilizer, we’re thrilled to join our fellow co-ops in sharing knowledge and collaborating to build a more sustainable food production system.

Our lawyers and accountants were hard at work as well – completing our audited 2012 financial statements, the Offering Statement (needed for Community Bond sales) and continuing to work on our feedstock contracts.

We’re looking forward to an exciting summer, starting with the Kids’ World of Energy Festival, taking place at Evergreen Brickworks from May 8-11, where our friends at TREC Education will be unveiling interactive biogas education activities!

Annual General Meeting & Board Nominations

ZooShare will host its 2013 AGM on June 12 at Centre for Social Innovation – Annex. Two seats on our Board are up for election including the position of treasurer, as our great treasurer Kathrin Ohle is moving onto other projects. Interested in serving on our Board? Download the job description here and contact Daniel for more information!


POOPOOPAPER™ products is an innovative paper products company with natural, recycled and odorless (!) paper products made from the poop of different fiber-eating vegetarian animals including elephants, cows, and horses. Since the digestive systems of these specific animals don’t really break down vegetation all that well, fiber in poop is used as an alternative fiber source to tree-based pulp!

POOPOOPAPER™ is a proud ZooShare member! Their products are an excellent example of recycling and sustainability – by taking actual waste and re-purposing it into functional alternative-fiber paper products, they are on the leading edge of progressive recycling initiatives! Now that’s a company we can all get behind – but watch your step!

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Member Update: December 2012

F.I.T. Application Submitted!!

We’re thrilled to announce that our application for the province’s renewable energy Feed-In Tariff program has been submitted to the Ontario Power Authority! A special thank you to Toronto property-owning members who endorsed ZooShare as a community-power project for our F.I.T. application (see sidebar).

The window for F.I.T. applications closes on Jan.18 and the O.P.A. has said there will be a 120 day turn around before they begin issuing contracts. Receiving our F.I.T. approval will be a significant milestone in ZooShare’s development; we can’t wait for all the action that will follow in the new year!

ZooShare members Giulia Reinhardt and Tyler Hamilton also deserve a special thanks for serving as our Commissioner of Oaths and accompanying us on our housecalls across the city. The whole ZooShare team greatly enjoyed meeting members face-to-face; the consistent excitement and enthusiasm for this project was a pleasure to experience first hand. We’re very proud to be embarking on our next exciting phase of this landmark project with all of you!

ZooShare Video *full release*

Some folks had difficulties viewing the video we submitted for the Co-operators’ National Co-op Challenge, so we’re happy to now include it here for your easy viewing pleasure:


4 Founder’s Club Opportunities Remain!
A recent influx of interested investors has left us with only four spots open in our Founder’s Club circle! If you’re interested in joining our twenty-one current Founder’s Club investors ($10,000+, 11%+ return, 3 year term), please contact Daniel Bida for further information!

Have a happy holidays! Thank you for your support in 2012, we’re looking forward to an exciting 2013!

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Member Update: November 2012

The Toronto Zoo Makes it Official

ZooShare Biogas Co-operative Inc. is thrilled to announce that we have signed Lease and Operating Agreements with the Toronto Zoo to build and operate a biogas plant at the location of their current composting facility.

With this signing we officially welcome the Zoo to ZooShare, with a seat on our Board of Directors and a commitment to contribute 10% of annual earnings to the Zoo’s Development Fund. In exchange, ZooShare has secured the needed land and Zoo poo for at least 20 years, but likely more.

This is a key milestone that we’ve been working hard towards together with Zoo staff, that will further help us in securing a Feed-in Tariff contract with the OPA.

“We couldn’t be happier to be growing together with the Toronto Zoo – it’s one of the leading conservation organizations in the world. The people who work at the Zoo share our love of animals and the environment, and we’re excited to support them while the poo supports us” – Daniel Bida, Executive Director of ZooShare.

“The ZooShare Biogas partnership will incorporate a unique community funding model that will showcase waste management best practices to the public, that closely aligns with the Toronto Zoo’s education, and sustainable environmental programs” – John Tracogna, Chief Executive Officer of the Toronto Zoo.

“The Zoo is proud to be part of a such an exciting, innovative project. Reducing the Zoo’s carbon footprint while creating new revenue streams and reducing costs is a win-win. We looking forward to ZooShare bringing this project to fruition.” – Joe Torzsok, Chairman of the Toronto Zoo

“I’m excited to come to the Toronto Zoo this Spring and make my daily bamboo-poo contribution to one of the world’s first zoo biogas plants!”- Er Shun, Giant Panda.

Nine Founders’ Club Spots Remaining!

We’ve sold 16 of our Founders’ Club bonds ($10,000+) and only nine remain. If you, or someone you know, would like to earn 11%+ annual return over a three year term, please get in touch or share their contact info and we’ll be happy to alert them to this lucrative triple-bottom line opportunity!

Property Owners Needed for F.I.T. Application

In order to comply with the latest changes to the Feed-in Tariff program, ZooShare will be collecting signatures from 50 property owners in the City of Toronto over the next couple months to include with our FIT application. If you’ve owned your home or condo in the City for more than two years, in whole or in part, please send us an email to become a Designated Property Owner.
For more information about the Feed-in Tariff program, please check out the Ontario Power Authority website

Putting Sheep Sh*t to Work in Rwanda!

ZooShare Biogas Co-operative loves to promote others that recognize the true value of poo!

One such organization is The Sh*t Starts Here, an initiative started by Canadians Rita and Jeff Rayman. Travels in Rwanda alerted them to the years of over-farming and deforestation that has depleted nutrients from the soil in that country, decreasing crop yields and making it difficult for subsistence farmers who cannot afford man-made fertilizer.

Knowing that manure from sheep is a natural fertilizer that significantly improves the fertility of farmed soil, the Raymans began an initiative in September 2010; working with established cooperatives, The Sh*t Starts Here provides each farmer with a female sheep, and access to males for studding. Natural fertilizer from the sheep helps the farmer’s crop yields and once he has his quota of 3 females (and a sufficient number of males shared by the cooperative), his next sheep is passed on to a farmer in another cooperative, and the benefits cycle throughout the community.

The Raymans are adamant that The Sh*t Starts Here is not a charity but rather, an opportunity…a hand up, not a hand out. Learn more about this project and check out their blog.

If you know of an initiative that is putting poo to work, let us know and we’ll feature it in an upcoming ZooShare newsletter.

Posted in Member UpdateComments Off on Member Update: November 2012

Member Update: April 2012

We hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of spring and the great weather it has brought us. This is the perfect time of year to start putting away your winter stuff, start your gardens and visit the Toronto Zoo.

FIT Contract

The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has recently concluded their review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. The OPA has decided to keep biogas rates essentially the same going forward – providing much needed clarity for the future of the ZooShare project. The underlying price paid for biogas power has not changed, but the bonus we get for being a Community Power project increased from 0.4 ¢/kWh to 1¢/kWh, and the annual price adjustment was increased to 50% of the inflation rate, from 20%. Both of these will have a positive, but minor, impact on ZooShare’s projected bottom line. In addition, the rules were changed around when FIT applications are reviewed – previously all applications were time-stamped and read in order, now they are scored on a few criteria and the highest scoring applications are read first. This new system places a greater emphasis on Community and Aboriginal power projects, meaning that ZooShare’s FIT application is likely to be reviewed sooner than before. Now that the review is out of the way we are expecting to get our contract offer this summer! The full FIT review report can be found here.

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Member Update: February 2012

We hope everyone is having an excellent start to the New Year! We have some new and exciting news that we would like the share with you.

“This shit’s a hit!” – Inge Christensen, Creative Expeditions

We are extremely proud to announce that ZooShare has won the ClimateSpark Social Venture Challenge!! We won a grand prize of $40,000 from the Toronto Community Foundation and $250,000 in bridge financing from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund. Big thanks to the ClimateSpark organizers and partners, and to everyone who voted for us for helping to make this happen. We are looking forward to putting the money to good use. A press release can be found here.

Power contract offer delayed

As you may or may not have heard, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is currently in the midst of a review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, which is affecting all FIT applications submitted after December 2010, including ours. As a result we are still waiting for a contract offer, but are hopeful of receiving one as early as this Spring! This has pushed the planned construction date back to the Spring of 2013.

Lending a helping hand

ZooShare is lucky to be receiving assistance from a number of friendly businesses and individuals. We are pleased to announce that ZooShare has teamed up with ReiCura to assist with its marketing and communications, and Tri-Barrel Design to develop 3D models and images of the planned site – both of which are the result of generous pro-bono offers. We’re also pleased to welcome Erik Lo Forte to the ZooShare intern team. We are truly excited about all of these relationships and feel they’ve got loads of pootential!

Between the ClimateSpark victory, some much-anticipated clarity on the FIT program and our new relationships, 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year.

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Member Update: October 2011

We’ve met many new faces and have received a lot of great feedback from everyone over the past few weeks, so we thought we’d update you on what ZooShare is doing these days.

We’re impressed with the interest and support (keep it coming!) that the project has received. Also, thank-you to our Founder’s Club of investors and new members, your vote of confidence makes this project possible. It’s not too late to become a Founder’s Club investor or a member of the co-op, so send us an email– we’d be happy to tell you more.

Last but not least, ZooShare now has three interns/volunteers Jonathan Veale, Mark Ouseley and Nida Kazmi who will be dedicating some of their time to help us grow.

What if the Toronto Zoo was privatized?

As many of you may be aware, the City of Toronto recently announced plans to privatize the Toronto Zoo as part of its cost cutting efforts. This has led many of you to wonder, what will happen to ZooShare and its plans to build a biogas plant at the Zoo. We are confident that this will not affect our project or the future of the co-op due to the number of benefits we provide to our partners at the Toronto Zoo, namely safe and sustainable manure management and 10% of our annual earnings. Furthermore, it is also worthwhile emphasizing that the city has not yet made a definite decision on what the future operation model of the Toronto Zoo will be but is currently looking into what those models could be.

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Member Update: September 2011

ZooShare in the Media

ZooShare has been lucky to receive a lot of positive media coverage over the last few weeks. Here’s some:
Tyler Hamilton on Green Community Bonds
ZooShare’s Executive Daniel Bida on CBC As it Happens (starts at 13:11)
Toronto Star on the ‘Power of Poop’
Globe & Mail ‘Powering homes with poo from the Toronto Zoo’

Thank you Founders’ Club

I would like to extend a special thanks to our Founders’ Club members for becoming one of the earliest supporters of community-owned biogas at the Toronto Zoo. The investments made by our Founders will help ZooShare achieve its goals and complete the development phase of the project – their support means a lot. Be sure to congratulate these individuals when you meet them, for making an investment with pootential. Or if you’d prefer to be the one getting congratulated, send me an email – I’d be happy to tell you more.

Posted in Member UpdateComments Off on Member Update: September 2011