Farming operations at Durham College have received a huge boost for the upcoming year.
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation has donated $1 million to fund the expansion of the operations at the W. Galen Weston Centre for (CFF) at the college’s Whitby Campus on Champlain Drive.
The expansion will continue to support learning opportunities for students.
The success of the Horticulture Technician and Horticulture – Food and Farming programs over the last two years has resulted in a doubling of enrolment and a greater demand for fresh foods from the field. This donation will support the construction of a post-harvest and storage facility, greenhouse expansion and the implementation of container farming.
College officials state this will increase and better process the CFF’s food production, allow for experimentation of newer agriculture practices, and provide students with new experiential learning opportunities.
“The foundation is pleased to support Durham College and its students once again as they continue to pave the way for a new-generation approach to local food and sustainability,” said Eliza Mitchell, director of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation. “This grant will allow for more food production, new opportunities to teach non-traditional farming and, most importantly, more chances for students to gain critical skills that will put them in demand upon graduation.”
The first half of the foundation’s donation will go towards building the post-harvest conditioning and storage facility in the spring of 2019.
This will improve the CFF’s process operations and farm work flows and provide for long-term storage of produce, while also minimizing food waste. Once completed, the grant will further support greenhouse expansion to increase space and allow for more students, plants and projects, and introduce innovative container farming to allow for small-scale agriculture and year-round growing.
“On behalf of Durham College and the CFF, we are tremendously grateful for the generosity and the ongoing support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation through this thoughtful donation,” said Don Lovisa, president of Durham College. “These projects will continue to enhance all of the CFF’s post-secondary programming and provide significant experiential learning benefits to our current students while further positioning us as best in class with our unique field-to-fork model of education and service delivery.”
The W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, includes Bistro ’67, a full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, and Pantry, a retail store featuring food prepared by students in the college’s culinary programs.