Renovations coming to update Charlottetown's Farm Centre

The Farm Centre in Charlottetown is getting a facelift thanks to funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Facility upgrades to the 40-year-old building will focus on critical internal and external infrastructure, energy efficiency and updates to meeting spaces and technology requirements.

“These grants announced here today are going to be very beneficial for our building,” said Exton MacPherson, chairman of the P.E.I. Farm Centre Association.

“As a not-for-profit organization, we would not be in the position to carry out these upgrades on our own. We are very pleased to receive federal and provincial support to move forward with these improvements.”

In total the building is getting just over $170,000 for the much-needed upgrades.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is contributing the lion’s share with $141,906 through its business development program. The provincial government’s Island Community Fund is investing the remaining $28,381.

“The farm system on Prince Edward Island encompasses a remarkable group of producers, processors, distributors, marketers and consumers,” said Fisheries Minister Gail Shea.

“These upgrades will better support the valuable work carried out by our agriculture entrepreneurs and the small and medium-sized businesses that directly support this vital Island sector.”

Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley said the facility has been an important asset for the agriculture and fisheries sectors in P.E.I.

“The province is pleased to provide an Island Community Fund investment to modernize the P.E.I. Farm Centre,” MacKinley said.

The facility houses 15 tenants, including the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, Adapt Council of P.E.I., Dairy Farmers of P.E.I. and the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association.

Built in 1975, the Farm Centre has served as a central hub for the Island’s farm organizations. It continues to serve as a central urban location for farmers and fishers as an effective and convenient centre for the Island’s primary industries.

The Farm Centre Association was also a recipient of a P.E.I. 2014 Fund with a grant valued at $175,000.

This project will support the creation of culinary events, seminars, conferences, and workshops, hosted in the building to celebrate the significant achievements of present-day Island farmers, while honouring previous generations.

The Farm Centre Association will also create the P.E.I. Legacy Landscape – an outdoor living classroom featuring a diversity of Island-bred crops for the public to learn about farming, food and sustainability through workshops, demonstrations and experiential learning.