Thanks to many generous grants and donations the Bentley Ag Centre’s $35,500 kitchen upgrade is complete and the kitchen is now accredited.
Upgrades included a commercial stove with two ovens and a range hood, stainless steel table and counter, dish sanitizer and racks, and special wall paneling.
Major funding was received from the provincial Community Facility Enhancement Program ($15,000) and the federal Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund ($17,800). Other donations came from the Keyera Corporation and the local Santa’s Breakfast.
Another large contributor was Monsanto Fund Canada who was only in their second official year of the Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities program, to try to help support local farming communities.
Farmers who wanted to apply had to fit criteria themselves to be able to nominate a favorite community charitable or not-for-profit organization in their local community that they wished to win help for.
After husband Dwayne Johnson found out about the possible grant through company advertising last spring, Jennifer Johnson from Bentley was one who was quick to apply for the $2500 grant in the Bentley & District Agricultural Society name.
Although there were no strings attached to spending the funds, Jennifer said she had mentioned the kitchen upgrades underway at the local Ag Centre, and that is what it would be applied to.
At the Ag Society’s Annual General Meeting last November Johnson announced being informed about receiving the grant.
“We are working to help farmers make an even bigger impact in their communities by investing in organizations they care about,” states Trish Jordan, Public and Industry Affairs Director at Monsanto Canada, headquartered in Winnipeg, on their website, “and is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to invest in farm communities. We look forward to learning about all the programs and causes that are important to farmers and rural communities.”
“Monsanto is committed to helping farmers grow their communities and improving the lives of rural residents. This program allows us to shine the spotlight on farmers and recognize them for the important contributions they make to their communities, not only as farmers but as vital contributors to their community’s overall well-being.”
There were 378 entries in the 2013 Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities program with 60 winners.
In Alberta there were over 70 applications with 18 winners including the Bentley Agricultural Society as well as the Bentley School Chest Society.
The successful Bentley School Chest Society farmer nominator was Eric Hyink from Lacombe who has two children in the Bentley school system. He said he believes the money the School Chest got will go towards sports equipment and things like new mats. No more information was currently available.