Prairie Innovation Centre receives $100K donation from the McCain Foundation

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Photo: ACC

Assiniboine Community College’s Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture has received $100,000 from the McCain Foundation.

Agriculture and food are the largest areas of applied research at Assiniboine. The Prairie Innovation Centre will provide an integrated learning environment with a mixture of collaborative learning spaces, applied research labs, multipurpose spaces, and amenities.

“The McCain Foundation is proud to support initiatives that recognize the importance of global environmental challenges, like food security” said Linda McCain, Chair of the McCain Foundation. “By investing in education and supporting agriculture programming at Assiniboine, The Foundation hopes to contribute to a strong, sustainable future for agriculture in Manitoba.”

The Centre will repurpose the Parkland building on the North Hill campus, joining the grow plots, orchard and the weed identification garden and Sustainable Greenhouse, which was also supported by the McCain Foundation, to provide interdisciplinary training, practical education and applied research.

The Prairie Innovation Centre will increase opportunities for students—the future agricultural workforce—to gain real-world professional experiences through additional engagement with industry partners, and will enhance the college’s contribution to economic prosperity in Manitoba through applied research, work-integrated learning, extension and innovation.

“The agriculture industry is evolving to a place where technology and food innovations coupled with a strong commitment to sustainability are fundamental to things like agronomy, farming or land management and value-added food processing,” said Tim Hore, Dean of the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment at Assiniboine. “You can’t do one without having knowledge of the other parts. The McCain Foundation donation supports our mission to become a leader in agriculture education and applied research to ensure we are producing well educated students who enter the ag sector with the advanced skills to champion sustainability in the agriculture industry.

The college launched the Prairie Innovation Centre campaign in 2019 and has increased its fundraising goal twice, from $10 to 15 million, and has now exceeded the new $20 million goal. In January, 2023 the Province of Manitoba made an initial commitment of $10 million toward design and costing.

The Prairie Innovation Centre will create an enhanced agricultural training capacity, increasing seats in agriculture, environment and related technology programs from 300 to more than 800 to fill the growing agricultural labour gap.