Often new organizations must spend a lot of time hunting for funding. In a rare twist, Northern Farm Training Institute founder Jackie Milne said Hellman’s called her.
“I was shocked,” she told The Hub. “They’re giving us absolute freedom to do what we want with it.”
In a news release, the company known for its mayonnaise stated that its “real food movement,” of which this donation is part, is meant to combat “real food deserts,” where it claims one in five Canadians live. This means that fresh food and produce is not readily available or financially accessible, something that is particularly prevalent in the North. To that end, they are giving NFTI $75,000 with which to build a geodesic dome to house a greenhouse.
“It’s surprising that in a prosperous country like Canada, many families struggle to put real and fresh food on the table for their families,” said Gina Kiroff, senior brand manager for Hellmann’s Canada. “Since launching the Real Food Movement in 2007, Hellmann’s has been on a mission to get people excited about eating real, yet it’s simply hard for many Canadians to do so, when their access to real food is limited especially due to cost and availability.”
NFTI has been planning and building a campus on the highway toward Enterprise and this latest windfall will add a new geodesic dome to the property.
“It looks really cool, and it works for further North as well,” said NFTI’s Kim Rapati. “It’s going to be a great teaching tool and hopefully something our students can take back with them to their own communities.”
Milne said as far as she knows, this is the only Hellmann’s funded project in the North and that she looks forward to making the most of it.
“I’m really impressed at their genuine commitment to farmers’ markets and local food production, right from the grassroots level,” she said. “If people can change just one thing in their sandwich to something locally sourced, just the lettuce, that makes a huge difference.”