GUELPH, ON [June 17, 2021] – A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic and our transition to a virtual world has been the reduced operating costs of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and a surplus budget that has provided an opportunity to invest in communities across the province.
To further support our rural areas and put the organization’s financial surplus to good use, OFA created the Revive Fund. This program offers our 51 county and regional federations the opportunity to apply for additional funding to plan, develop and launch new projects and initiatives in their local communities. The Revive Fund aims to help our farming and rural communities recover and rejuvenate from the many hardships faced during COVID-19.
The intention is to support our grassroots members and agricultural communities by giving back in a way that can make a positive impact through the implementation of tangible activities. These initiatives focus on health and wellness, agriculture education, local food promotion, environmental stewardship, leadership development and farm safety.
“While the global pandemic has created many challenges, one of the benefits to organizations like OFA has been a reduction in operating costs in a virtual world,” said Drew Spoelstra, OFA Vice President and Chair of the Budget Committee. “This has allowed OFA to partner with our county and regional federations to contribute financially to projects that suit their area which will in turn support our diverse farming communities.”
Applications for the Revive Fund opened on April 1, 2021, and will be accessible until December 2021. Since the launch of the program, OFA has received 11 successful applications from federations across the province. These federation applications have been approved for funding and are investing in projects to further support farmers, members and residents in rural communities. Funding ranges from $900 – $5,000, allowing county and regional federations to commit to community projects and initiatives while receiving matching funds from OFA through the Revive Fund program.
One of the successful applicants thus far has been Northumberland Federation of Agriculture, who is currently working on a campaign to develop new field signs to help identify farm crops.
“Northumberland is excited to be participating in a crop signage project that educates consumers about the crops they see growing in our fields turning into items at our grocery stores,” said Sid Atkinson, Northumberland Federation of Agriculture President. “OFA matching funds have enabled us to double the impact of the project, with 12 signs going in the ground across Northumberland County’s major roads.”
Bruce and Grey Counties will also be joining the Northumberland Federation in the development of educational field signs with the help of the Revive Fund. “We are excited to have been approved for the OFA Revive Funding,” said Dianne Booker, Grey County Federation of Agriculture President. “This funding will be going towards roadside signage to help consumers identify and see how crops grow throughout the season.”
Additionally, the Algoma Federation is utilizing the program to invest in road signs for the ‘Farm Equipment Turning’ project. The funding will help the community by investing in signs that will exhibit further safety measures and provide awareness on farm-use lanes and slow moving vehicles. “This fund has allowed us to develop signs with the intent to reduce accidents on the road and alert motorists that a farm vehicle may be turning,” said Jason Koivisto, Algoma Federation of Agriculture President. “It’s a priority for our federation to work together to keep roads safe for both the farming community and the general public. We are grateful to OFA’s fund for helping us achieve this project.”
OFA is committed to investing in our communities as they recover socially and economically from the impacts of COVID-19. OFA hopes this fund will showcase local projects and initiatives and encourage other federations across the province to get involved in their local communities. It’s an opportunity to identify if similar initiatives would fit in different areas of Ontario and allow for ideas to be duplicated and the benefits multiplied exponentially.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario, representing 38,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, research, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer. For more information, visit www.ofa.on.ca.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Ontario Federation of Agriculture
519-821-8883 ext. 218