Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities

Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, was introduced in June 2012 to help Canadian farmers support charitable and not-for-profit organizations in farming communities. The program gives eligible farmers the opportunity to register to win $2,500 for a charitable or not-for-profit organization in their community.

While most Canadians are aware of the multitude of large, high-profile charitable organizations doing good work to help those who are less fortunate, the same is not always true in smaller, rural communities.

Local not-for-profit groups and charitable organizations that target specific unmet needs in rural communities often operate with volunteers and they don’t have the same access to financial resources and donations as larger charities. That puts a lot of pressure on local residents to help fund the programs and services offered by these charitable groups.

That’s where Canada’s Farmers Grow Communities is making a difference. And who better to know what community groups could benefit from help than the farmers and their families who live and work in these rural communities?

“Monsanto is committed to helping farmers grow their communities and improve the lives of rural residents,” said Trish Jordan, Public and Industry Affairs Director at Monsanto Canada. “This program allows us to shine the spotlight on farmers and recognize them for the important contributions they make to the quality of life in their communities.”

A unique aspect of the program that encourages broader engagement and participation from other rural residents is an option that allows non-farming community members and potential recipient groups the opportunity to suggest ideas farmers can consider using in their applications. These ideas are posted to an on-line “Idea Map” where farmers can see what groups need help.

Feedback from rural residents indicates the program can make a noticeable difference in the lives of rural residents. Sabrina Aitchison, a farmer from Manitoba, is a previous winner who submitted an application to help support their local nursery school.

“This sort of funding really means a lot to our little nursery school,” said Aitchison. “As farms get larger and small towns get smaller it is hard for little organizations to function but with farmers and others like the Monsanto Fund giving back to the community, it can be done!”

How the Program Works

From January through September annually, farmers across Canada have the opportunity to nominate a local charity or not-for-profit group in their community by visiting Two $2,500 grants are awarded in each of 30 different territories across the grain growing regions of northeastern BC (Peace River district), Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

For complete program details, visit

Dateline Canada: Learning Where Food Comes From

The Made in Manitoba Breakfast program is organized by Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) – Manitoba, Inc., a non-profit charitable organization that works to connect Canadian teachers and students to agriculture.

The Made in Manitoba Breakfast program travels across Manitoba feeding students full, hot breakfasts made with products from Manitoba farmers. Before each breakfast, the students take part in an education program that helps them explore the agriculture industry and learn where their food comes from.

“The Made in Manitoba Breakfast program is an exciting and engaging way to connect students of all ages to where their food comes from and help them appreciate the fact that farmers in Manitoba are producing a delicious, abundant supply of safe and nutritious food right here in Manitoba,” Trish Jordan, public and industry affairs lead, Monsanto Canada said. “It is a celebration of food, farmers and agriculture!”

Students also learn about possible careers and job opportunities in agriculture. The program changes depending on the grade level, but kids are shown how almost every possible job has a connection to agriculture. AITC works with Faculty of Agriculture Outreach personnel to tailor a program specific to agriculture related careers for high school students, helping them understand the entrance requirements and skills sets required for a career in their chosen field.

The Monsanto Fund has contributed $137,000 to the Made in Manitoba Program, and thanks to a recent grant, AITC was able to expand the program to 30 new rural communities.

Inspiring All Youth Through Science

Activities such as making homemade astronaut ice cream, extracting DNA from wheat germ, and building model greenhouses prove to students in the Actua science programs that science is more than just a subject found in a textbook.

With a $75,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund, Actua delivered high-quality and engaging science experiences to:

  • more than 21,000 Aboriginal youth via its National Aboriginal Outreach Program
  • nearly 4,000 girls via the Actua National Girls Program
  • more than 6,000 underprivileged or at-risk youth in the Go Where Kids Are initiative

Actua is Canada’s leading youth outreach organization that delivers life-changing science, engineering and technology programming. Independent research has shown that because of their Actua experience, 84 percent of participants felt they would do better in math and science in school.

Agriculture Biotechnology Enrichment (ABE) Program

The Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg introduced the ABE program in 2001. The ABE program works with high school teachers and students to introduce new and authentic science concepts being applied in medical and agricultural research. It also serves to expose high school students to the exciting research, science and career opportunities in the field of biotechnology. The Monsanto Fund has contributed $150,000 to the ABE program, helping to ensure it continues to educate students.