Wineries, Ski Martock and Wolfville Farmers Market get federal grants

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WOLFVILLE, NS — Farmers and agritourism operators in the Annapolis Valley have important messages to share, stories that can be transformed into unique experiences for visitors.

Kings-Hants MLA Kody Blois announced federal funding of $796,925 for six Annapolis Valley projects at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market on March 18. The money comes from the tourism assistance fund of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The Wolfville Farmers’ Market Co-operative Ltd. received a $265,000 non-repayable grant to collaborate with the Blomidon Naturalists Society and Earth Rhythms to develop and market food and nature-related tourism experiences.

The team will work with existing local businesses and producers to create income-generating products throughout the year. New winter agrotourism workshops will also be developed as part of the collaboration.

Agriculture meets tourism

Wolfville Farmer’s Market Manager Kelly Marie Redcliffe said she knows her farmers and artisans have stories to tell: important messages about the environment, the land, farming and the food they want share with visitors.

Redcliffe said Earth Rhythms President Celes Davar can show them how to turn their stories into experiences, while members of the Blomidon Naturalists Society know and care about nature.

She said she could imagine a naturalist working with a farmer to help them tell their story and create experiences for visitors.

“We all share a similar message, we all have similar things to say about how people and place can work together, and that we’re interconnected,” Redcliffe said.

She said it’s exciting that the experiences they create are educational and beneficial not just for tourists, but for people right here in the Annapolis Valley.

Redcliffe said she believed the project would be good for the agriculture and tourism sectors as a whole. Once groups begin to build genuine partnerships and relationships, the possibilities are endless in terms of positive ripple effects.

Redcliffe said that has been his experience in the marketplace and that’s what makes a community sustainable. She said we’ve definitely seen it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wolfville Farmers’ Market Manager Kelly Marie Redcliffe talks about a collaborative initiative with the Blomidon Naturalists Society and Earth Rhythms during a March 18 funding announcement. KIRK STARRATT

Make stories accessible

Earth Rhythms President Celes Davar said the past two years have been very challenging for those in the tourism industry and operators greatly appreciate the federal support.

One thing he thinks they were all looking for is a way to make the stories of Annapolis Valley people growing food accessible to those from afar.

“To do this, this story must be shaped into an accessible experience. That’s what’s exciting here is that we’re going to develop 16 new stories into experiences that people can access, not just in the summer but also in the winter,” Davar said.

He said that when people look at what is happening in the world in terms of climate crisis and pandemic, one thing they realize is that the connection with nature is something that is paramount to any economic activity.

Davar said people have also become aware through COVID-19 of the importance of resilience and food security.

He said it would be great if people could amplify their connection with nature and help people better understand important elements of the rich biodiversity and microclimate of the Annapolis Valley, for example.

“I think building a whole series of experiences that really champion food, food stories, food tourism and a sense of place is well placed in terms of what visitors also want to access,” said Davar.

Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois, Blomidon Naturalists Society President Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Earth Rhythms President Celes Davar and Wolfville Farmers Market Director Kelly Marie Redcliffe at a March 18 funding announcement at the Wolfville Farmers Market.  KIRK STARRATT
Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois, Blomidon Naturalists Society President Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Earth Rhythms President Celes Davar and Wolfville Farmers’ Market Director Kelly Marie Redcliffe at a March 18 funding announcement at the Wolfville Farmers Market. KIRK STARRATT

Advocacy for nature

Blomidon Naturalists Society president Soren Bondrup-Nielsen said that due to issues such as species loss and the climate crisis, being a naturalist today also means having to stand up for nature.

“It’s not just about having protected areas and such, it’s about understanding that we are part of nature and that our food comes from nature,” Bondrup-Nielsen said.

He said the food comes from the land, not from a grocery store, and it’s important that it’s produced as part of a healthy ecosystem.

He said food production should be sustainable, and that’s where naturalists come in. They promote the idea of ​​growing food on a smaller scale with mixed crops, as opposed to large-scale monoculture, for example.

Bondrup-Nielsen said he would work with farmers who value these facts to help attract more people to their farms and help visitors better understand where their food comes from.

Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois announces funding through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Tourism Relief Fund for six Annapolis Valley projects.  KIRK STARRATT
Kings-Hants MP Kody Blois announces funding through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Tourism Relief Fund for six Annapolis Valley projects. KIRK STARRATT

Positioning tourism for success

Blois said tourism was the first sector to be hit by COVID-19 and would be the last to fully recover.

He said the Tourism Relief Fund does not just support projects that otherwise would not have happened due to COVID-19. It’s about positioning tourism-related operations to succeed on the other side of the pandemic.

He said the investments made are tangible in that they support either critical infrastructure projects or critical programming projects.

Blois said the area is home to the highest tides in the world and there is a unique culinary experience and history that he says is unrivaled in the country.

“These types of investments will help support our partners, whether non-profit or private operators, which will improve their experiences and hopefully bring even more people to the region,” he said. -he declares.

must know

Other Annapolis Valley projects that will receive a portion of ACOA’s $796,925 funding include:

Bent Ridge Vineyard ltd. received $212,970 ($202,000 reimbursable) to build a lodge that can accommodate up to 150 guests with views of orchards, vineyards and the Avon Valley. The structure will include a bar, kitchen, washrooms and parking. The new space will allow the winery to accommodate larger groups and events, such as weddings, to increase visits during the winter and shoulder tourist seasons.

• McConnell Gordon Estates Ltd., doing business as Benjamin Bridge Vineyards, received a $100,000 non-repayable grant to expand, weatherproof and heat its outdoor patios. This will create a year-round accessible space for visitors and events. The project also supports the construction of an outdoor ice rink on site to help develop the vineyard’s winter tourism offer.

• Nova Ski Limited, operating as Ski Martock, received a non-repayable grant of $100,000 to upgrade its snowmaking equipment, ski jump, chair lift, service vehicles, and rental and coaching. The upgrades will help the ski resort provide a high quality experience and attract more visitors to the area.

• Luckett Farms Ltd., doing business as Luckett Vineyards, received a $99,705 non-repayable grant to create new interior space by surrounding part of its outdoor patio with a steel frame and adding windows and doors. The project will extend the winery’s cellar door season, creating and sustaining jobs, as well as improving off-season tourism in the region.

• The Magic Winery Bus Ltd. received a non-repayable grant of $19,250 to undertake marketing activities aimed at enhancing its brand in order to reach and attract more visitors. It will also expand and diversify its wine destination experiences, particularly during the shoulder tourism season, to promote Nova Scotia wine and support local wineries.

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