Abegweit First Nation is purchasing nearly 2,500 kilograms of potatoes from a local producer in a show of support for the industry.
The band is encouraging community members to back Island growers amid the suspension of fresh potato exports to the U.S. due to the discovery of potato wart on two Island fields.
Chief Junior Gould said the initiative, called “Tap’tan Monday” for the Mi’kmaw word for potato, was the result of conversations among the community about how to support farmers.
He said every Islander is going to be affected by the ban one way or another.
We like to think we’re part of the community, and we’ll pay it forward.— Grant Compton
“We’ve worked on farms and boatyards. Everywhere where potatoes were part of the industry. And we’re part of that,” he said.
“We feel that as a community we’re in a position again where we can offer assistance, and we’re going to try to support local business.”
The potatoes will be distributed to individual community members as well as through some of its programs at the health centre. They will also be passed to customers of the local gas bar during its customer appreciation day.
Grant Compton, partner at family-run local grower Compton Bros Ltd., said he was “quite humbled” by the band’s offer.
“It warms your heart, and it shows that your community does care,” he said. “We’ve taken a few bruises over the years through this and that, and it’s nice to get a pat in the back once in a while and a shot of support.
“We’ll pay it forward after all of this is done. We like to think we’re part of the community, and we’ll pay it forward.”
Gould said he hopes the initiative demonstrates that the Abegweit First Nation is a collaborative part of society.
“You only make the news when it’s something traumatic or unfortunate. But it’s always good to take initiative and be part of what’s positive and move in the right direction,” he said.
“We all came from a complicated history that we share. But I also believe that if we talked and educated and communicated, we could be part of a future history, and that’s what we’re working together and helping each other.”