The Brome-Missisquoi CLD, with the support of L’ARTERRE, unveiled the four winning projects of its 2021 bursary program to support the next generation of farmers after a six-year hiatus. These scholarships allow for the support and recognition of the efforts of young entrepreneurs who are new owners of an agricultural enterprise or who are in the process of becoming such in the Brome-Missisquoi territory. These agricultural bursaries are granted with the financial participation of the CLD and its partners.
The development and support of resilient, innovative and regenerative businesses are central issues in the CLD’s 2021-2023 bio-food strategic plan. According to a press release, the projects submitted had to be consistent with the objectives and priority actions of the strategic plan. The winners stood out for the quality of their business plan and the quality of their application. Their academic and practical training in relation to the type of agriculture, their management capacity, as well as their degree of involvement in the local ecosystem were also points of analysis of the applications.
Le Rizen was the recipient of the L’innovante grant for its vision of development, its creativity and its desire to promote products from its native culture, China. Le Rizen is the only agricultural enterprise in Quebec that markets a wide variety of Asian vegetables. Many of these vegetables are almost impossible to find in local and organic production in Quebec. Owner Stephanie Wang will use the $4,000 grant to cover the expenses of legal and fiscal professional fees as well as coaching related to the change of legal structure from sole proprietor to a cooperative.
The Maraîchère grant was awarded to Amélie Bourbonnais of Les Jardins du Chat Noir, a market garden farm located in Bedford. It stood out in its category because it is part of the movement of bio-intensive farms growing vegetables in rotation on a small area. In addition, her vegetables are certified organic and sold directly to 200 families through Family Farmers, an initiative of Équiterre. Bourbonnais won a $3,000 farm tool kit and a $1,000 bursary to purchase hand tools specific to the farm’s needs.
As for the 2e Vie à une Entreprise scholarship, Marc-Antoine Arsenault-Chiasson and his spouse Audrey-Anne Lussier were awarded for their project involving taking over a 10-hectare orchard, Ferme Cidricole Équinoxe, located in Farnham. They were able to take over the reins of an apple orchard and ensure the transfer to a more diversified and organic production with cider production as their focus. Their prize of $4,000 will be used to furnish their new boutique and terrace in order to welcome agrotourist customers.
Brome Lake’s very own Les pâturages du Lac Brome, owned by Émilie Tremblay, was awarded the Nouveau Modèle D’affaires grant. Her innovative business model creates new opportunities to address the issues of farmland abandonment and access to land for young aspiring farmers, particularly through pasture leasing. Its methods of intensive pasture rotation and soil health restoration through regenerative grazing limit herd handling, minimize production costs, and maximize operational efficiency. Tremblay will take advantage of her $4,000 prize to purchase a commercial freezer in order to store a large quantity of meat to offer her products throughout the year.
The bursaries will be back in 2022 for all the young and aspiring farmers who did not have the opportunity to submit a project this year.