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Provincial government grants money for Kingston, Ont. training farm project

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The Government of Ontario has granted $216,000 to a Kingston pilot project that will train 30 participants in agriculture and farming on the grounds of Collins Bay Institution – May 6, 2022

The grounds of Collins Bay Institution will soon be the site of a new “incubator farm” designed to help recruit and train people in farming.

The City of Kingston announced this week that the provincial government has committed just over $216,000 in funding for the “Kingston and region community training farm.”

The program is designed to help close the labour gap in the agricultural industry by allowing students to get hands-on, experiential training in farming and agriculture.

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The partnership includes the City of Kingston, the provincial government, St. Lawrence College, Loving Spoonful and multiple other organizations.

“We’re targeting people who are experiencing barriers to employment,” says Loving Spoonful Urban Agriculture Organizer Ayla Fenton.

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“The idea is to help get people into the agricultural industry and to eventually, after the training program this year, set them up with job placements on local farms for next year.”

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Fenton said they’re targeting youth, newcomers to Canada, people living with mental health and addictions and formerly incarcerated people for the program, which will open the application process soon.

According to Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, agricultural workers are vital to keeping shelves stocked and food on the table.

“That is why we’re working with the City of Kingston to connect young people to exciting careers in farming and ensure local employers have the workers they need to grow their businesses,” McNaughton says.

Read more: Coronavirus: Labour shortages at some Ontario farms threaten crop harvest, groups say

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Students who participate will receive training in vegetable production, participate in a part-time online training curriculum through Ignatius Farm’s new farmer training program, and will even have monthly farm tours and workshops throughout the region.

On top of that, students will learn carpentry, welding and electrical skills.

The program will accommodate 30 students. It is set to begin this month and run through March of next year.

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