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Funding Opens Door for Emerging Rural Agri-entrepreneurs

Edmonton, AB – Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors has approved more than $2.9 million in funding for a province-wide initiative aimed at creating opportunities for rural and agricultural communities to connect, collaborate and learn. By developing tools and resources enabling existing infrastructure to work more effectively and sustainably, the Rural Road Show – Phase 2 project, delivered through Green Hectares, will strive to create sustainable rural communities throughout Canada.

“By building on existing rural and agriculture programs and resources, the Rural Road Show project will help to increase utilization and create effective and sustainable programming,” said Honourable Jack Hayden, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This project has the potential to enhance the appreciation of agriculture, better position the agriculture industry for future profitability and rural sustainability, and enable young and new farmers to enter into farming.”

By focusing on partnering and the distribution of the existing programs, this project intends to design and implement scalable models of delivery that address current barriers to entry or use. Three integrated distribution models for channelling ideas, resources and programs and linking organizations and people from all sectors of agriculture and rural Alberta will be developed. The three distribution channels include the Six Degrees Database, the Practice Pitch and Building Blocks for Business, which interlink to support the activities of one another creating a robust system.

“Young, rural agri-entrepreneurs represent Alberta’s next generation of successors in the agriculture industry, and creating effective distribution channels throughout rural Alberta opens the door for more opportunities and services to flow into rural areas,” said Jann Beeston, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “This project presents a framework that looks into building a future for Alberta’s agriculture industry and has the potential to go nation-wide.”

Green Hectares, in collaboration with partner organizations, program providers, municipalities and academia, will share knowledge, networks and resources to provide the mechanisms for young adults to access learning resources and tools that meet the needs of Alberta’s future agriculture entrepreneurs. Funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund will go towards program development, communications and marketing, resource development and community engagement. The project’s anticipated completion date is December 31, 2013.

Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $82.6 million has been committed to 74 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining funds, which must be committed by March 31, 2012

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For more information, contact:

Gitte Sorensen
Communications & Program Coordinator
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Wendy Schneider
Executive Director
Green Hectares
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)