Cleanfarms: making a difference during Covid-19

Author: Kim Timmer, Cleanfarms manager of stakeholder relations

The Cleanfarms team, a group of 14 dedicated individuals, has been working remotely since the mid-March. While it was business as usual for some staff with home offices in Moose Jaw, Lethbridge, and St-Bruno, it was a change for others like myself who are based in our Ontario office.

Sean O’Neill from Canadian Liquids Processors with their generous donation

I am proud of how quickly we transitioned to our new reality and continued with the work we love: helping farmers keep their communities clean. Our team continues to meet regularly (perhaps more frequently than before) online to share how programs are adjusting to regional needs and pull on learnings from coast to coast, keep newer initiatives moving and quite frankly, check in on each other.

It was after one of those team meetings that I received an email from a sister organization with a simple ask: keep the positivity going and share the good work that we are all doing during these difficult times. This is what this blog is all about.

Like many organizations, our focus was, and still is, on supporting our on-the-ground partners – the 1,600+ ag-retail and municipal based collection sites and transportation contractors, many of which were prepping for the start of collections when COVID-19 hit. Best management practices and contingency plans were developed. You can read more about our response here.

It’s also important to make note of the other ways our team is providing support, both close to home and on a larger scale:

  • We had a small supply of PPE in storage and responded to a local collection drive for these much needed supplies. As a member of a first-responder family, this was a very tangible and meaningful contribution.
  • Our general manager, Barry Friesen, a Rotarian in his spare time, worked with industry colleagues like Emterra’s Canadian Liquids Processors division to secure hand sanitizer donations for local charities and long term care homes.

    Barry Friesen presenting virtually to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

  • Friesen presented to the Standing Committee on Finance where he discussed the important role that plastics play in our lives and the environmental initiatives underway that ensure agricultural plastics are recirculated into our economy.
  • Shane Hedderson, our Western Canadian Business Manager, is sharing his additional time at home with a furry foster, O’Neill, who is available for adoption through Redemption Paws.

This is just a sample of the activities our team is taking on. From checking in on neighbours/colleagues, grocery runs for those who can’t get out and scrapbooking to help keep family ties strong, our team remains active and dedicated to our work, families and communities.

Shane and O’Neill

And we draw strength and inspiration from the people that we know and work with in Canada’s ag industry, coast to coast. Farmers, retailers, municipal staff, and transportation partners have been challenged in so many different ways by this virus, and its impact on their personal lives and families, and the immensity of new challenges that they confront every single day. We salute all our partners in this industry and look forward to the day that we get to meet again

Stay safe – stay healthy – stay connected.

As Cleanfarms’ manager of stakeholder relations, Kim Timmer connects with the many partners that make a difference in the organization’s programs.

Cleanfarms, Canada’s leading agricultural stewardship organization, is best known for its empty container recycling program and unwanted pesticide and old livestock medication collection campaign.