More than 100 people gathered in Edmonton this week for the relaunch of ALUS Canada—a national program that uses a market-based system to fund farmers and ranchers to produce clean air, clean water, pollinator habitat, and other ecosystem services.
“Since 2010, ALUS Canada has invested nearly $674,000 in Alberta’s ALUS communities, where participants are now devoting more than 3,600 acres to producing ecosystem services for all Albertans,” said ALUS Canadian executive director, Bryan Gilvesy.
Today, the ALUS program announced its relaunch as ALUS Canada, an independent not-for-profit organization supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
Gilvesy unveiled the organization’s new brand and website, alus.ca, at the event.
Guest speakers included the the mayor of Parkland County, Alta., Rod Shaigec, and the reeve of Brazeau County, Bart Guyon.
Guests toured the ALUS project on site, an “eco-buffer” producing habitat for pollinators, birds and beneficial insects, and absorbing nutrients and sediment from the corn field in order to improve water quality in the nearby Wedgewood Creek.
“With the mix of students, neighbours, and folks from the city who visit us, this location provides the perfect opportunity for demonstrating the benefits of an eco-buffer,” said Dan Horneman, the farmer who hosted the event.
ALUS Canada now boasts over 700 farmers and ranchers in six provinces, including Quebec, Prince Edward Island, and Ontario. The organization has generated $2.8 million for participating communities and over 18,000 acres for producing ecosystem services, including 5,600 wetland acres producing clean water, habitat, flood/drought mitigation.
The ALUS Canada model was supported by farm leaders as a success that should be supported by government in the recent policy statement that went forward to provincial and federal ministers by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.