To say that the last few years have been full of change would be an understatement. This is something that the agriculture industry knows all too well. This is something that industry organizations can attest to– including Agri-Futures Nova Scotia (AFNS). This past year alone has brought significant changes to AFNS with the Executive Director taking on a new role with the NSFA to support Nova Scotia farmers connecting with consumers in our province. This left the organization at a cross roads, wondering what direction they should turn and what action should be taken.
Agri-Futures has done a lot of work since its formation in 1997. It’s most known for delivering programs on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food for 17 years. More than $16 million was delivered through five different funding programs from 1997 to 2014. More than 200 Nova Scotia led projects were completed and hundreds more collective outcome projects with other provinces were funded. Supporting industry led research and innovation was always at the heart of the association. When funding delivery ended AFNS believed that the industry needed support to connect the food system and increase collaboration. Launching recent initiatives that focus on Collective Impact, such as Grow Nova Scotia and overseeing the Salad Bar Pilot Project – working to increase local food procurement in NS schools.
The AFNS board held a special meeting last week to discuss next steps for the organization. Ultimately, with decreased capacity and resources, a special resolution was put forward to dissolve the organization. This decision was made after months of careful consideration. We would like to acknowledge and commend the work that Agri-Futures has done over the past number of years as they worked to increase the amount of local food in our schools across the province.
The remaining AFNS funds will be distributed to the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture (NSFA). Following this, the NSFA will establish the “Grow Nova Scotia Food Committee” which will approve the disbursement of the Grow Nova Scotia food system funds held in internally restricted funds for projects that align with the establishment of a whole food system approach to increase access to local and healthy foods in schools.
“Agri-Futures has been a driving force behind local food initiatives in our schools. The passion and dedication of current and previous board members and staff is noteworthy, they have shared the same drive to increase Nova Scotians local food consumption. I would like to thank everyone for the support they have provided our organization over the years and I look forward to the work of the Grow Nova Scotia Food Committee.” – Richard Melvin, AFNS Board Chair.
“At the NSFA our vision is a prosperous and sustainable future for Nova Scotia farms and farmers. One of the many ways we can work towards this vision is to continue AFNS’s local food initiatives. Over the past number of months we have seen a significant shift in the buy local/support local movement, with Nova Scotians developing a great appreciation for Nova Scotian grown products. We are happy to accept the funds from AFNS and we are committed to continuing to build on the strong foundation Agri-Futures has built.” – Victor Oulton, NSFA President