Rustic wooden crates filled with apples and onions and baskets overflowing with fresh produce graced the Feed Nova Scotia warehouse in Bedford, Nova Scotia Thursday.
They were donated by various local farmers upon the announcement of the impending approval of the new provincial Food Bank Tax Credit.
The credit, which has been in the works for a few years, is aimed at providing greater tax relief to farmers who donate surplus produce to food banks.
READ MORE: New tax credit gives farmers incentive to donate more to food banks
Food banks will be able to issue a tax receipt to farmers that is equal to 25 per cent of the value of the donation received. Donations will also remain eligible for the Charitable Donation Tax Credit.
Chris van den Heuvel, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, says the tax credit will not only benefit farmers, but it will also help the food banks meet an increasing demand for donations.
“As food bank use rises, the number of donations must rise too. The food bank tax credit for farmers provides some tax relief and offsets some of the costs associated with donating crops that would otherwise go to waste,” he said.
On average, nearly 44,000 Nova Scotians visit a food bank at least once during the year.
Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell commended the new tax credit for its support of farmers who have continually made large contributions to food banks through the years.
“This is fantastic news for Nova Scotia, it’s fantastic news for the farmers of the province that have donated so much food to the food bank for such a long time. But most importantly, it’s important to the people in the community that need to come to the food bank,” he said.
According to van den Heuvel, in the past year Nova Scotia’s farmers donated over 149,000 kilograms of produce to food banks.
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Nick Jennery, the executive director of Feed Nova Scotia, sees this tax credit as a means to help people give back to their community.
“On our team of staff and volunteers we have people who have been there, we have people who have been hungry. We know what it’s like and one of the things that I hear pretty much every day is that if you help me get to a better place, I can hardly wait to give back to the community,” he said. “So I see this as an investment in community.”
Once the credit is approved, it can be applied to any donations made by farmers from January 1, 2016 onward.
Colwell says the details of the tax credit are in the process of being approved, and once finalized the credit would be implemented in a few days.