Cowansville, December 9, 2021—Today, during a special virtual event, the CLD of Brome-Missisquoi and L’ARTERRE announced the four winning projects of the 2021 grants supporting young farmers! These grants recognize and help support the efforts of young entrepreneurs who are new owners, or in the process of becoming owners of an agricultural business on the Brome-Missisquoi territory. These agricultural grants are awarded thanks to the financial participation of the CLD and its partners.
The development and support of resilient, innovative and regenerative businesses are key priorities in the CLD’s 2021–2023 Agri-Food Development Strategic Plan. It’s within this context that the support grants for young farmers were reinstated this year after a six-year absence. The submitted projects had to be in line with the objectives and priority actions of the strategic plan. The winners distinguished themselves by the strength of their business plan and the quality of their contest submissions. Their academic and practical training related to the type of culture, their management skills as well as their degree of involvement in the local ecosystem were also considered in the analysis of their applications. All the winning enterprises were able to strongly highlight their innovative practices and their determination to establish themselves in the Brome-Missisquoi agri-food sector.
Ms. Rachel Mahannah, Chairperson of the CLD of Brome-Missisquoi’s Agri-food Committee, was pleased to announce the winning enterprise for the L’INNOVANTE grant, Le Rizen, which stood out with its development vision, its creativity and its readiness to promote products inspired by the owner’s native culture, China! Le Rizen is the only agricultural enterprise in Québec which markets a wide variety of Asian vegetables. Many of these vegetables are almost impossible to find in local and organic productions here. The recipient of the grant, Ms. Stéphanie Wang, plans to use the $4,000 prize to cover expenses for professional legal and tax fees, as well as accompaniment fees relating to the change of legal structure from a sole ownership to a cooperative.
The LA MARAÎCHÈRE grant, awarded to Les Jardins du Chat Noir, was presented by Jean-Martin Fortier of l’Institut Jardinier-Maraîcher and Growers & Co., both GOLD level grant partners. Amélie Bourbonnais’s business is a produce farm located in Bedford. She has distinguished herself in this category, among other reasons, for her participation in the bio-intensive farm movement, by growing vegetables in rotation on a small parcel. Furthermore, the vegetables she produces are certified organic and are sold directly to 200 families within a short circuit format through Family Farmers, an Équiterre initiative. Ms. Bourbonnais won a skill improvement course, a farm tool kit worth $3,000, and $1,000 that will help her purchase several hand-held tools specific to the farm’s needs.
As for the LA 2e VIE À UNE ENTREPRISE grant, Ms. Patricia Meunier, vice-president of L’Union des producteurs agricoles de Brome-Missisquoi’s local branch, and also a GOLD partner, was proud to congratulate M. Marc-Antoine Arsenault-Chiasson and his wife and partner Audrey-Anne Lussier for their project to reopen a 10-hectare orchard, the Ferme Cidricole Équinoxe, located in Farnham. They were able to rehabilitate an apple production business and ensure its transition towards a more diversified and organic enterprise with cider production as the main focus. This project reflects a successful convergence of a business recovery and entrepreneurship, as well as demonstrating innovative approaches for their operation’s management and in the marketing of their products! Their $4,000 prize will be invested to establish their new boutique and terrace which will welcome their agritourism customers.
Finally, M. Yves Simard, next generation farm advisor for the Montérégie-Est and MAPAQ representative, had the pleasure of announcing the winner of the NOUVEAU MODÈLE D’AFFAIRES grant, Les pâturages du Lac Brome, owned by Ms. Émilie Tremblay. Her innovative new business model creates a range of new possibilities addressing the issues of farmland abandonment and land access for young aspiring farmers, in particular through the leasing of pastureland. Her intensive pasture rotation and soil health restoration methods through regenerative grazing help to limit herd handling, and minimizes production costs while maximizing operational efficiency. The key to her success? Let nature take its course. Ms. Tremblay will use her $4,000 prize to buy a commercial freezer to stock a good quantity of meat in order to offer her products all year-round.
The CLD of Brome-Missisquoi would like to thank all its grant partners supporting Brome-Missisquoi’s young farmers with their projects. The grants will be back in 2022 for all the young aspiring farmers who didn’t have the opportunity to submit a project this year.
Source: Eliane St-Pierre