In August 2014 during his Northern Tour, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency funding of $2 million over 2 years for NFTI. We had the opportunity to show him and his accompanying ministers around our students’ garden plots in the Fort Smith Community Gardens and explain the long-term benefits of investing in sustainable agriculture and ongoing educational support for new farmers.
This funding is currently being used to establish the farm campus in Hay River!
Here is the official Press Release: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/08/22/pm-announces-measures-promote-northern-agriculture
Mr. Harper’s Announcement Speach: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/08/22/pm-delivers-remarks-fort-smith
An excerpt from the speech:
“[…] As most of you know, Jackie is the driving force behind the Northern Farm Training Institute, which our Government has been supporting. Through it, her expertise, she’s been sharing her expertise in northern agriculture with people from all across the territory including here at Fort Smith. So, for that good work everyone, give Jackie a big hand. And you can see there, some of the fruits of her labour, or more accurately, some of the vegetables of her labour. As I said, we’re starting to see the results of our investments into small-scale agriculture in the North but we want to do more.
We want to see a Canadian north with a viable, sustainable, commercial, agricultural industry.
For the people who call the North home, this would mean more fresh food and a higher standard of living, more good jobs, and business opportunities, and more self-reliance and prosperity, and a more diverse economy even in the most remote of communities. Now, we’re aware of the challenges involved in this. They are very significant, but in our view these challenges are not insurmountable. In fact, I am here to tell you that we are already working to meet them. We are developing Northern solutions to meet northern challenges, as we call them, Canadian solutions for Canadian challenges. The first challenge is this: farming is a skilled trade and even more people in the north need to learn and develop those skills. Jackie and the Northern Farm Training Institute are achieving great things with their workshops and we see much potential there.
So, today I am very pleased to announce that we will increase our support for the institute with a substantial new investment. An investment that will turn the dream of offering its programs year-round into a reality at a new permanent campus.This campus will be located not too far away in Hay River, and the graduates of its Centre for Excellence will come from all over the Northwest Territories. They will take the skills they learn, including training in greenhouse operations back to their home communities, sharing this know-how across the territory. […]”