Co-op donates $105,000 for outdoor living classroom

Red Deer students will learn about new ways to grow food

Co-op is helping to build a place for everyone in Red Deer, with funding for the Red Deer Public School Foundation.

The Co-op Community Spaces Program is providing $105,000 to help create a self-contained, replicate, green space that will showcase green technology and green building techniques. Students will learn about a new way to grow food that embraces technology, high-density food production and innovation. This greenhouse will provide the opportunity to cultivate leafy greens year-round.

“We are excited to give students this unique learning opportunity to have access to an eco-friendly indoor farming system. Through the use of innovative technology, like hydroponics, students will be able to grow produce throughout all four seasons,” said Darrin DeMale, principal at Central Middle School.

“We are so thankful for the support from such an active community partner. The Foundation aligns its priorities with those of Red Deer Public Schools. Equity and Student Success ensures equal learning opportunities for all students and this project will help develop skills students can use for life,” said Bruce Buruma, executive director of The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools.

Co-op Community Spaces is investing in community projects across Western Canada, from Vancouver Island through to Manitoba. The program helps create, protect and improve projects dedicated to environmental conservation, recreation and urban agriculture.

This year, 24 organizations will receive a total $2 million for their community projects. Since 2015, Co-op Community Spaces has donated $6.5 million to 88 projects.

“Co-op Community Spaces is an exciting program that is making a difference across Western Canada and we’re delighted to see it come to this community and the Red Deer Pubic School Foundation,” said Gerald Hiebert, chief executive officer with Central Alberta Co-op. “Central Alberta Co-op is supported and owned by members and customers throughout this region, so it’s important that we give back and make investments in our community and people, which is what Co-op Community Spaces is all about.

“By supporting projects like this, we’re helping to build and support a vibrant and healthy community where people can come together.”

The giving program is administered by Federated Co-operatives Limited on behalf of more than 180 independent retail co-operatives across Western Canada that form the Co-operative Retailing System.

The complete list of 2018 Co-op Community Spaces funding recipients will be announced later in June. For more information about the program, please visit

– Submitted by Red Deer Public School District

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