2017 Co-op community spaces recipient



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Co-op is pitching in to help out the Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives (MBFI).

The MBFI is a research farm, with three sites near Brandon, that will receive $125,000 in funding from Co-op Community Spaces, a funding program supporting recreation, environmental conservation and urban agriculture projects.

“Co-op Community Spaces is an exciting program that is making a difference across Western Canada and we’re delighted to see it come to Brandon,” said Lorne Zacharias, general manager with Heritage Co-op. “Heritage Co-op is supported and owned by members and customers throughout southwest Manitoba, so it’s important that we give back and make investments in our community and people, which is what Co-op Community Spaces is all about.”

In 2017 — with Canada 150 just around the corner — individual projects were eligible to receive up to $150,000 through Co-op Community Spaces. In total, 27 organizations are being supported through the program this year. Combined, these groups — which include non-profits, charities and community service co-operatives — have received $2 million for their community projects.

Since launching in 2015, Co-op Community Spaces has provided $4.5 million to more than 60 projects across B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The Co-op Community Spaces funding will help support the construction of the Learning Centre of Excellence at the MBFI’s Brookdale site for producers, industry leaders and the public — including students — to better understand on-farm research, food production and agriculture’s role in rural and urban communities.
The MBFI will also utilize the new facility to provide hands-on training in crop and livestock production, farm product marketing and workshops around safe animal handling.

“This is just wonderful news,” says Ramona Blyth, MBFI chair. “MBFI is a centre of agricultural innovation engaging in science-based research to benefit valuable ecosystems, improve producer profitability and build social awareness around the beef and forage industry.” Blyth says that MBFI’s role is to support a community of collaborative stakeholders to advance agriculture’s future and connect with the next generation. “We are really looking forward to working with the great people at Co-op Community Spaces and celebrating their support.” says Blyth.