Co-op Community Spaces provides $125K to agricultural research farm near Brandon

Winnipeg, MB (June 27, 2017) — Co-op is pitching in to help out the Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives (MBFI).

The MBFI is a research farm with three sites near Brandon, MB that will receive $125,000 in funding from Co-op Community Spaces, a funding program supporting recreation, environmental conservation and urban agriculture projects.

“Co-op Community Spaces is an exciting program that is making a difference across Western Canada and we’re delighted to see it come to Brandon,” said Lorne Zacharias, General Manager with Heritage Co-op. “Heritage Co-op is supported and owned by members and customers throughout southwest Manitoba, so it’s important that we give back and make investments in our community and people, which is what Co-op Community Spaces is all about.”

In 2017 — with Canada 150 just around the corner — individual projects were eligible to receive up to $150,000 through Co-op Community Spaces. In total, 27 organizations are being supported through the program this year. Combined, these groups — which include non-profits, charities and community service co-operatives — have received $2 million for their community projects.

Since launching in 2015, Co-op Community Spaces has provided $4.5 million to more than 60 projects across British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The Co-op Community Spaces funding will help support the construction of the Learning Centre of Excellence at the MBFI’s Brookdale site for producers, industry leaders and the public — including students — to better understand on-farm research, food production and agriculture’s role in rural and urban communities.

The MBFI will also utilize the new facility to provide hands-on training in crop and livestock production, farm product marketing and workshops around safe animal handling.

 “This is just wonderful news,” says Ramona Blyth, MBFI chair. “MBFI is a centre of agricultural innovation engaging in science-based research to benefit valuable ecosystems, improve producer profitability and build social awareness around the beef and forage industry.” Blyth says that MBFI’s role is to support a community of collaborative stakeholders to advance agriculture’s future, and connect with the next generation. “We are really looking forward to working with the great people at Co-op Community Spaces and celebrating their support.” says Blyth.


For more information:

Lorne Zacharias
General Manager
Heritage Co-op
Phone: (204) 867-2295

Duncan Morrison

MBFI Communications

Phone: (204) 770-3548


About Co-op Community Spaces

Co-op Community Spaces is administered by Federated Co-operatives Limited on behalf of more than 190 independent retail co-operatives across Western Canada that form the Co-operative Retailing System. For more information, including complete details about the 2017 Co-op Community Spaces projects, see

About Heritage Co-op 1997 Ltd. 

Heritage Co-op is a retail co-operative that has proudly served the Westman area for more than 90 years. Today, Heritage Co-op serves more than 25,000 members — and many more customers — in Minnedosa, Brandon, Wawanesa, Erickson and Sandy Lake, where it serves the area with Food, Fuel, Home & Building Supplies as well as Agricultural Supplies. Since 2012 Heritage Co-op has returned more than $22 million to its members in cash back and equity, while contributing over $750,000 to community organizations and initiatives.

About Manitoba Beef & Forage Initiatives Inc. (MBFI)

MBFI is a Brandon-based collaborative effort between Manitoba Beef Producers, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Manitoba Forage & Grassland Association and Manitoba Agriculture with input and leadership from producers, academia and other industry stakeholders across Canada. MBFI is the result of industry demand for change and the need for strategic long-term partnerships for the agricultural sector as a whole. MBFI is and innovative teaching farm engaging with Canada’s beef and forage producers, elementary, secondary and post-secondary students, while educating the general public on how their food is grown.