The Society’s effort was given a substantial boost today with the donation of $100,000 from Harvest Meats.
“From our standpoint this is huge,” said campaign chair Terry Tyson. “. . . It’s a game-changer, a real momentum builder.”
Kenn Propp with Harvest Meats said he has been involved in efforts to save the mill almost from day one.
“I’ve been involved with the committee almost since its inception,” he said, adding his recollection is that the first talk of an effort to save the mill began in 1989, to see “if there was any community support for trying to support the mill . . .
“It was important to us to be involved.”
Propp said he always saw value is saving the mill as it was “indicative” of the food processing sector in the city which now includes businesses such as Richardson and LDM processing canola oil, Grain Millers doing oat processing and Harvest Meats. He said the existing businesses today have created “quite a little hub of food processing” in the city.
Tyson said given the history of the mill as an agricultural processor the current campaign has “really focused on agribusiness,” and that certainly includes Harvest Meats.
Propp noted Harvest Meats traces its own roots in the city back to 1928 when it moved from Rhein, and in the early years had a grocery store. He stocked shelves in the early days of his life and recalled purchasing flour from the mill “at least twice a week,” which was then “hauled to our store to sell it.”
Recently, Propp has had an actual look inside the old mill.
“I was really intrigued to see most of the equipment still in place,” he said, adding maybe one day some of it might be brought back into operation for people to see and fully appreciate.
When complete, construction will be dependent on raising some $2.2 million, the Interpretive Station, will consist of both static and interactive educational and informative displays for all ages, which will greet visitors as they enter the building. It will not only show the development of milling wheat from the late 1800’s when the first York Colony mill was erected, but will also provide a much broader overview of all food production in our region and province.
The Station will tell stories not only of the farms that are the primary producers, but will inform and ensure visitors that prairie agri-business excels at producing safe and wholesome products by sustainable means.