Alberta cooperative boosts rural community organizations during COVID

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Community organizations have really struggled this year — especially with fundraising. Many of the events that were scheduled for the year, and subsequently cancelled, were meant as the major fundraiser for food banks, churches, daycares, and other important parts of rural communities.

A big boost to these rural community organizations came from UFA, and joining Shaun Haney to talk about it is CEO Scott Bolton.

“We are, like most co-ops, community minded, and we have a pretty robust community investment program that’s been part of our annual cycle for years and years,” says Bolton. “On top of that, we have a foundation that also supports rural communities, but when the pandemic hit we decided that we needed something more, and what we first did was over the late spring and summer, we donated $100,000 directly to local community associations like outreach programs or food banks.”

About 200 organizations in total have received funding, and recently, the funds were topped up to another $40,000 which went to three organizations that help rural communities more broadly: SARS rural ambulance, 4-H’s healthy living initiative, and DoMoreAg.

Bolton himself has contributed to Alberta’s strategic economic recovery plan and sits on the economic recovery council. In the council’s eyes, agriculture is poised to be the leading industry to pull the province out of the economic slump caused by the pandemic.

“We’re going to be the engine that drives us out of the economic challenge we find ourselves in as a province and indeed as a country,” says Bolton. Agriculture has always been the “foundation stone;” it just never receives the publicity for it, adds Bolton. The opportunity for agriculture to contribute in western Canada, and Alberta, is pretty great.

Listen in to the full conversation between Bolton and RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney for more about how UFA will play its part in driving the economy forward:

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