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Alta. potato farm donates seed to N.W.T.

Alta. potato farm donates seed to N.W.T.

An Alberta farm found a way to donate some of their surplus seed potatoes

Staff Writer

Sunny Crest Farms recently donated 50,000 pounds of its seed potato surplus to the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in Hay River, N.W.T. to allow residents to grow their own food.

“We had a nice crop last year. They were all sold and then COVID-19 happened. So that backed up things a bit,” said Jeff Ekkel, part owner of Sunny Crest Farms near Lacombe, Alta.

Ekkel and his family first gave away potatoes in late May to help decrease their surplus.

When individuals picked up potatoes, the Ekkel family asked for donations to local food banks, Jeff told

The giveaway went well and, soon after, the family’s seed co-ordinator with the Potato Growers of Alberta connected with them about an opportunity to provide potatoes to NFTI. NFTI is a non-profit that provides farm training to those interested in improving local food systems.

The family learned the organization needed about 50,000 pounds of potatoes.

“Well, we did a potato giveaway before, so we can also donate these,” said Ekkel.

Sunny Crest Farms requested that NFTI cover the cost of the pallets and bags for the donated potatoes. NFTI arranged the transportation of the potatoes from Lacombe to Hay River.  

The potatoes left on their 1,200-kilometre journey on June 1 and arrived at their destination on June 3. NFTI will distribute the seed potatoes throughout the territory.

NFTI representatives aim to encourage more food production in the Northwest Territories, said Ekkel. “It can be very expensive to get potatoes and lots of other things shipped in. … (NFTI wants) to show residents that they can grow potatoes, even though the territory has a short growing season.”

PavelRodimov/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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