By Cory Bilyea
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
WINGHAM ADVANCE TIMES
SAUGEEN- The Saugeen First Nations (SFN) Food Bank and Community Garden are one of the recipients of this year’s grants from Farm Credit Canada (FCC) AgriSpirit Funding.
FCC contributed $22,500 to “purchase a vehicle for the food bank to distribute fresh produce across the community,” a press release from FCC said.
Food Bank Garden Coordinator Tina Roote told the Advance Times that the organization is very grateful for the funding. With it, they purchased a 2016 Dodge Caravan from Grey Motors Mazda, which they have affectionately named the Spud Bus.
Roote talked about that experience with Grey Motors, saying the salesman gratefully complied with her request to lower the price from $22,995 to the grant amount of $22,500, which allowed the organization to purchase the essential vehicle.
Roote said, “the Food Bank staff have been using our personal vehicles for many job-related duties,” so this funding was timely and will be used for many beautiful things for the community.
“Ideally, the decision to go with a multi purpose van was made in consideration of not only transportation of produce from the Garden to the Food Bank and to the Community,” Roote said in an email. “The van’s purpose also functions as a vehicle for transporting supplies, the garden crew, community members/garden workshop participants and youth to land-based learning excursions.”
The press release said, “At FCC, we applaud all Canadian non-profit groups that invest time and energy to support their fellow citizens,” said Perry Wilson, FCC vice-president of Ontario operations. “Through the AgriSpirit Fund, FCC supports causes that contribute to a sense of community and help improve the quality of life for rural residents. It’s one of the ways FCC gives back to the communities where our customers and employees live and work.”
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is a federal commercial Crown corporation reporting to Canadians and Parliament through the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. According to their website, they provide financing, knowledge, and software to almost 102,000 customers located primarily in rural Canada and with a corporate office in Regina, Saskatchewan.
FCC contributes $1.5 million annually to 85 community groups across Canada to support rural capital projects.
This year, the FCC AgriSpirit Fund awarded between $5,000 and $25,000 for various community improvement initiatives that enrich the lives of residents in cities, towns, or Indigenous communities with fewer than 150,000 people.
Over the past 19 years, the FCC AgriSpirit Fund has supported 1,529 projects, an investment of $19.5 million.
The next application period opens on April 1, 2023. Registered charities, municipalities, First Nations, and non-profit organizations interested in funding can visit www.fccagrispiritfund.ca for eligibility requirements, apply online and view past projects.
Cory Bilyea is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the WINGHAM ADVANCE TIMES. The LJI program is federally funded. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.