In case you missed it

Have you spotted a PEI Farm Tour sign yet? A series of informational signs have been placed in farmers’ fields along well-traveled routes across the Island. Different types of crops grown on PEI have been identified by the signs to help the public recognize these crops. The crops include barley, wheat, potatoes, soybeans, carrots, wild blueberries, and others.

The PEI Farm Tour is an initiative led by Farm & Food Care PEI and the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, in partnership with the PEI Federation of Agriculture, PEI Wild Blueberry Growers Association, PEI Horticultural Association, PEI Department of Agriculture and Land, and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

If you spot a sign, you can share it online with the hashtag #peifarmtour. There is also a contest being run in conjunction with the campaign, enter online at peifarmtour.ca

photo credit: Cheryl Young/Salty

Major investments in Prince Edward Island wharves and harbours are needed to support the growing needs of fishers and aquaculturists. Fisheries and communities minister Jamie Fox is calling on the federal government to significantly increase funding for the Small Craft Harbours program. “Small Craft Harbours are a federal responsibility and if they are to properly meet their responsibility, they need to provide more funding.” A report of the federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans released in February 2019 identified several shortfalls in the program. The report said the annual funding required to keep fishing harbours in good working condition is estimated to be $150 million but the average annual budget is approximately half of that.

“With changes in the fishery, including overcrowding because of larger boats, the continued growth of the aquaculture industry and the impacts of climate change on sea levels, we need to more than double the amount of budget available for the Small Craft Harbours program,” Fox said. “Keeping our marine infrastructure in good shape is critical for the growth and development of the marine sector, which is a key economic driver for rural communities.”

Fox is also calling for a review of the Small Craft Harbours program. He said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a mandate to provide infrastructure for wharves and harbours and they need to engage with all stakeholders to improve this essential program.

“It is time that they review this mandate and be provided proper funding to recognize the impacts of climate change and growing sectors such as aquaculture and an evolving commercial fishery,” he said.

There are approximately 44 active fishing harbours in Prince Edward Island.

In other fishing related news, renewed provincial investments under the Shellfish Enhancement Program will benefit oyster fishers.

The Department of Fisheries and Communities is investing $100,000 through the Prince Edward Island Shellfish Association to enhance and develop publicly fished shellfish beds across the province and carry out projects to continue to develop the oyster fishery.

“The provincial government is committed to supporting and growing Prince Edward Island’s shellfish industry.

Today’s funding announcement emphasizes this commitment,” Jamie Fox, minister of fisheries and communities, said. “There is a growing demand for Prince Edward Island shellfish and we are pleased to be able to work with the PEI Shellfish Association to help industry take advantage of the vast market potential.”

The PEI Shellfish Association leads a number of projects that contribute to the sustainability of the shellfish fishery such as the collection of juvenile oysters and spreading of 2018 and 2019 juvenile oysters on public oyster beds, relay of broodstock shellfish to important seed collection areas, and relay of small oysters to deeper areas where they will not be impacted by ice damage during the winter.

Congratulations once again to Cows Creamery for walking away with prizes at the American Cheese Society Conference & Competition held in early August. They won 2nd prize for their Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar; their Extra Old Cheddar, 2 Year Old Cheddar, and 3 Year Old Cheddar all took home 3rd Prizes. There were 1,742 entries from 257 companies, representing 35 US states, four Canadian provinces, Mexico, and Brazil.

Heart Beet Organics farmers Amy Smith and Verena Varga have expanded beyond their line of value-added farm products with their August opening of the Farmacy + Fermentary in downtown Charlottetown. Offering their many kombucha flavours on tap, the new retail spot is also licenced and will be serving other local beverages. As well as being a new spot to sit down and have a pint, Farmacy on Great George Street is whipping up salads and light meals. You can also pick up Heart Beet’s fresh organic vegetables at the location, providing another produce shopping option in the heart of the capital city.

Farm and Food Care PEI’s second annual Breakfast on the Farm was hosted at Vanco Farms Ltd in Mt Albion on Saturday, August 3. One thousand people took advantage of this opportunity to visit a potato and tulip farm and enjoy an all-PEI sourced breakfast. There were chances to learn what it takes to get potatoes from the field to the plate and how tulip bulbs are grown, along with farm tours, agricultural displays, and children’s activities.

The VanNieuwenhuyzen family and their staff opened up their farm for the event and the breakfast took place with the help of many. Numerous local businesses partnered with Food and Farm Care PEI to contribute to the breakfast and chef Ilona Daniel and her team worked tirelessly to prepare and cook the meal for the attendees.

Breakfast on the Farm created a unique opportunity for Island farmers, tourists, and non-farming Islanders to have a conversation about food and farming on Prince Edward Island. By providing a showcase for food production on PEI, non-farming Islanders were given the opportunity to meet farmers and members of the agri-food industry.

Two provincial programs, the Research, Innovation, and Growth Program and the PEI Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program will allow Prince Edward Island fishers and aquaculturists the opportunity to develop new technologies and reduce their environmental impacts.

These programs have been established to support the sustainable growth and meet current needs of PEI’s fishery and aquaculture sectors. Members of the fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors are eligible to apply online at: princeedwardisland.ca/peifactap and princeedwardisland.ca/FAresearch

The Research, Innovation, and Growth Program will provide support for small, short-term and industry-led applied research and development projects with the goal to overcome industry challenges. The PEI Fisheries and Aquaculture Clean Technology Adoption Program will provide an incentive for industry to adopt technologies or equipment that have been proven to reduce emissions or potential environmental impacts.

The Albany Community Centre has been granted funds from the provincial Department of Fisheries and Community’s Rural Growth Initiative. It has received $30,700 from the fund which has allowed for a new roof, siding, windows, pump, toilets, tables, chairs, and a new oil tank and heat pump. The total cost of the project is projected to be $61,400 and the centre will also receive $22,433 through the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to help with the cost. The former Lions Club is now owned by the community and has served as the local community hall for 55 years.

In addition to supporting local events and activities, the 50-plus member Albany Centennial 4-H club has used the centre for the past 37 years. It is open every Friday night and offers a pub-style menu.

The Rural Growth Initiative supports the revitalization of rural communities through strategic infrastructure investments that strengthen rural social and economic development.

PEI is the first site in Canada to have a Living Lab, part of a nationwide network led by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Living Lab-Atlantic, Canada’s first agricultural Living Lab is designed to benefit farmers and Islanders by enhancing soil health, water quality and crop productivity on Prince Edward Island. As part of the $10 million investment in the Living Laboratories Initiative, up to $2.4 million will be granted to the East Prince Agri-Environment Association (EPAA). It is a not-for-profit organization that represents 13 Prince Edward Island farms who are working together to improve and create sustainable agricultural practices.

EPAA will lead on-farm research activities in collaboration with over a dozen partners and local producers, including more than 20 science teams from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The ultimate benefit will be more practical technologies and sustainable farming practices adopted more quickly by Canadian farmers.

Lone Oak Brewing Co has been the recipient of multiple government funds as they set up in Gateway Village in Borden-Carleton. ACOA has given a $300,000 loan, and Finance PEI has also loaned the new startup $225,000. As well, the brewery received $200,000 grant from the McCain Fund, which was set up after the McCain plant closed in 2014 to encourage economic growth in the area.

About Salty Staff

A diverse group of people, the Salty team works hard each month to bring you great stories about PEI's food and farming community.

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