Monsanto Fund

How farmers helped build Canada – and still do

— By Kelly Funke

Canada is a great country. As we celebrate its 150th birthday this year, no doubt there will be much speculation and navel gazing about which people and events are responsible for its greatness.

Farmers

I’d like to make an argument for the farmers.

In many cases it was the farmers who broke land and toiled under some of the world’s harshest conditions, helping each other establish homesteads, build barns and create commerce, which in turn attracted more people and began to shape villages and towns. The farmers helped form local governments, built infrastructure and began to feed more than their own families. They began to feed the people around them.

Fast forward to 2017, and consider the role of the modern Canadian farmer. Today, a Canadian farmer feeds 120 people. That’s 12 times the number each farmer fed in 1900, not long after our country was born. They still serve on municipal councils, form agricultural societies, lead 4H clubs, run seniors centres and keep rural schools alive.

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It’s that integral role of the Canadian farmer that we celebrate with the Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities program, brought to you by the Monsanto Fund.

This program, entering its sixth year in 2017, is aimed at strengthening rural communities across the country by providing $2,500 grants to charities and non-profit organizations that are at the heart of their communities. Farmers must nominate their favourite charities, which is another small way farmers can continue to be local heroes. And it helps keep the important work of rural charities and community groups alive.

Thousands of farmers from BC to PEI have stepped up over the first five years of the Canada’s Farmers program and applied on behalf of a wide range of deserving organizations. As a result, the Monsanto Fund has been able to contribute almost $1million to 4H clubs, volunteer fire departments, arts groups, daycares, schools and ag societies – so far.

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What great charity is operating in your small town? Give it the shot in the arm it needs by helping it access a $2,500 Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities grant.

It takes just five minutes to apply, and you have until September 30, 2017. You can even get your farming friends and neighbours to join you. The more farmer applications we receive, the more chances your charity has to be chosen in our random draw.

Imagine how $2,500 could help you grow your community.

Kelly Funke is Public Affairs Manager for Monsanto Canada. She manages the Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities program on behalf of the Monsanto Fund.