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Supplied Photo - Tom Thomson

Funding to support agriculture and arts in Dryden

By Adam Riley Mar 12, 2024 | 1:18 PM

An investment by the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, which is funded by both the federal and provincial governments, will go to support a modern agricultural operation in Dryden.

Kenora – Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford made the announcement of $24,000 for AgriTech North Monday.

The funding will allow the company to purchase and install solar panels to reduce its energy consumption and overall operating costs.

Rickford says the province understands the value of programs like the Agri-Food Energy Costs Savings Initiative, and its benefits in the region, which includes food security.

“By supporting our robust food processing sector partners in the Northwest, we are strengthening the local food supply chain here at home.”

AgriTech North is a year round indoor agricultural operation called a “Living Lab” located on Duke Street, which Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Feagin Jr. notes is the only one in Canada which focuses on bringing to market, new innovation and technology that show the promise of achieving net-zero, energy-independent fresh produce within off-grid Northern Indigneous communities.

Feagin Jr. credits both Rickford, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Lisa Thompson, and various other farm and technology financial support programs.

“AgriTech North would not have the ability to solve these important issues or bring these ground-breaking technologies to market. We cannot overstate the positive impact these Ministers and their Ministries have had on resolving food insecurity throughout Northern Ontario, and by extension of these innovations being brought to market, Canada as a whole.”

Meanwhile, a long running arts organization, and its youth component are looking to make good use of a combined $12,500 in funding through the Ontario Arts Council, an agency within the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Dryden Entertainment Series Chair Wendy Parkin says the $5,000 is the latest in funding from the OAC, which in years past has helped set the organization up for success.

“This funding assists us in bringing top notch professional artists to Dryden providing concerts at an affordable cost featuring a variety of musical genres, drama, and dance. We look forward to continuing this valuable partnership in bringing the arts to our community as Dryden Entertainment Series celebrates our 50th anniversary.”

Supplied Photo – Tom Thomson

The remaining $7,500 will support the Dryden Youth Entertainment Series with school workshops and performing arts shows for audiences of toddlers up to teenagers.

DYES representative Jill Wilkinson says the organization is appreciative of the funding as it connects youth with high quality performances which would be difficult to achieve.

“It helps us to reach more children in Dryden and the surrounding area, offer some performances and school workshops for no cost to audiences and keep our admission costs low so that more families can experience live arts.”

Rickford adds the two investments for the arts are “strategic” and provide a level of enjoyment that brings a positive impact for the community.