A donation from the Saanich Fruit Growers Association will allow Camosun College horticulture students to continue Saanich’s legacy of farming and food production.
The $125,000 donation is the largest ever made to Camosun’s horticulture technician program. It will fund a perpetual bursary in horticultural studies, and enhance learning resources through purchases of equipment and planting stock.
“This donation comes at a very important time, when interest in local food production and food security is heightening, and economic pressures have impacted the traditional family farm,” said Eric Sehn, dean of Camosun’s School of Trades and Technology. “The gift allows us to encourage students to pursue careers in horticultural trades and introduce innovation in a long-honoured industry.”
Saanich Fruit Growers Association was a co-operative of large and small farms, and supported a vibrant local fruit production and processing industry for nearly a century.
“We are concluding a two-year process of winding down the association’s operations,” said Harold MacCarthy, one of the directors overseeing the distribution of the remaining assets that resulted from the sale of the historic Central Saanich property at the corner of Keating Cross Road and Veyaness Road. “We are very pleased to support Camosun’s horticulture students and to help honour the family farms and economic history of this region.”
The fund will provide bursaries, awards, equipment purchases and program upgrades.
In recognition of the gift, SFGA will be listed on the donor wall in the new Trades complex that recently opened at Interurban campus.
Camosun Foundation advancement manager Karen Whyte called it exciting and humbling to steward a donation of this size and historical significance.
“I feel privileged to help provide a lasting memory of the Saanich Fruit Growers Association,” she said.
The Camosun College Foundation works with donors to support student success through bursaries, awards and enhanced learning spaces.