August 1, 2021

Generous Students and P.E.I. Children’s Author among the 2021 Farmers Helping Farmers Award Winners

Nine Kenyan staff also recognized with Extra Mile Award

Generous students in P.E.I. and New Brunswick, as well as children’s author Patsy Dingwell, were among the winners at the 2021 Farmers Helping Farmers awards, presented recently in Charlottetown. The ceremony also featured a special Extra Mile Award, recognizing nine Kenyan staff who have kept the work of Farmers Helping Farmers going in Kenya despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Farmers Helping Farmers awards recognize the organization’s volunteers, supporters and members,” said Sandra MacKinnon, a member of the awards committee.

“We are extremely fortunate to have individuals and groups, working in partnership with Farmers Helping Farmers, to assist with projects that improve the lives Kenyan farm women and their families.”

This year’s award recipients:

The Youth Award was presented to two junior high classes; one in P.E.I. and another in N.B.

Souris Regional School Class 7 and its teacher Ilse Peters-Ching were recognized for their recycling efforts and using the money generated to assist with gardens in Kenya so that Kenyan students would have access to more nutritious lunches.

In New Brunswick, Class 7S in the Perth-Andover Middle School and teacher Kelly Stephenson were recognized for their contribution toward improving conditions at a Kenyan school.  Through fundraising initiatives, they raised sufficient funds to purchase a water tank for the Kibirichia Primary school, a stove, a solar light and other items for the students.  A special initiative included directing funds towards making the school disability-friendly.

Both classrooms engaged in learning more about the country of Kenya and the life of its students.

The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Patsy Dingwell.

One of the highlights for Farmers Helping Farmers during the past year was Patsy’s successful launch of her book Broken Crayons.  The story was inspired by the real-life experience of Ellen Gillis, a teacher in training from UPEI who travelled to Kenya in 2005.

The book was launched virtually to schools across P.E.I., as well as at a live event held at Beaconsfield.  The book shares the message of Farmers Helping Farmers, as well as highlighting the generosity of the Kenyan people.

The Friend of Farmers Helping Farmers Award was presented to the Pindoff Family Charitable Foundation of Toronto. The Foundation was established by Kroum and Eva Pindoff.  It was recognized for the unsolicited contribution to Farmers Helping Farmers, with no requirements on how it was to be spent. The money will enable Farmers Helping Farmers to extend its reach to more women’s groups near the area where work is currently undertaken. These funds will make a difference in the lives of families who live in very dry areas of Kenya.

The Extra Mile Award recognized nine Kenyan staff who have gone the extra mile during COVID-19. Despite the pandemic they continued to implement the Global Affairs Canada funded project: More Food. Better Food: Empowering Kenyan Women Farmers.  When they could not meet with groups, they worked with individual farmers.  They arranged to distribute  masks and hand sanitizers to schools.  They found a new variety of beans that had more iron than previous varieties.  When there was no potato seed available in the county, they found another source and secured it. For their positive and helpful attitude, Farmers Helping Farmers is extremely grateful.

Farmers Helping Farmers is an Island-based, award-winning organization of community-minded people. The group’s goal is to assist Kenyan farmers in becoming more self-reliant in agricultural food production. FHF assists with the development of small-scale practical agricultural projects, focusing on direct, person-to-person interaction. For additional information on the organization, visit


Sandra MacKinnon


Three P.E.I. members earn 2020 Honourary Life Membership awards

The awards recognize the organization’s volunteers, supporters and members. Sandra MacKinnon, Awards member says that the success of any organization is dependent upon the commitment of its volunteers and others. “We are extremely fortunate to have individuals and groups working in partnership, and raising funds to assist with the challenges faced by many East African farm women and their families.”

This year’s award recipients:

Jane Nitschmann of Perth ON received the Friend of Farmers Helping Farmers (FHF) award which recognizes individuals, businesses and organizations who are not members but who have made a lasting and extending contribution to the association. Ms. Nitschmann was recognized for her efforts in weaving unique mats using recycled materials and donating the money earned to the Kenyan water tank project. With each mat sold Ms. Nitschmann includes a note informing the purchaser about FHF and the importance of the water tank project.

This year, three Honourary Life Membership awards were presented. Members receiving the award were Dr. Rosemary Herbert, Charlottetown, Reg MacDonald, Blooming Point and Gerry McQuaid, Miscouche.

  • Dr. Herbert’s work to improve the health of the many Kenyan children in twinned schools not only helped those children and their families; it also helped FHF to broaden its scope from improving agricultural production and sustainability, to a greater emphasis on nutritional outcomes and overall wellbeing of Kenyan farm families.
  • Reg MacDonald was recognized in part, for his commitment to teaching bookkeeping skills to small scale farmers in Kenya. This aspect of Farmers Helping Farmers work truly exemplifies the organization’s name – as it helps smallholding farmers develop their farms into a business enterprise.
  • Gerry McQuaid has been a dedicated supporter of the twinning project, a strong fund-raiser for the Mitoone School and annual planner for the FHF float in the Gold Cup parade.

All three recipients have also been active on various FHF committees and its Board.

Congratulations to past recipients:

Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes member(s) who have made an outstanding contribution to the organizations and its project/activities during the past year.

2021: Patsy Dingwell
Rosemary Herbert, Winston Johnston, Judy Loo, Wendy MacDonald, Ken Mellish, Teresa Mellish, John van Leeuwen, Colleen Walton and Catherine Williams.  2018:  Maxine Delaney
2017:  Ellen Cudmore, and Carolyn Francis, Wendy MacDonald and Liz Townsend
2016:  Reg MacDonald and Dr. Shauna Richards

Friend of Farmers Helping Farmers Award recognizes individuals and businesses who are not members of Farmers Helping Farmers, but who have made a lasting and extending contribution to the association. Contributions may be in the form of financial or in-kind.

2021: Pindoff Family Charitable Foundation, ON
Jane Nitschmann, Perth ON
2019: Holland College
2018: Kate Westphal
2017:  Island Lime and Mary Robinson Manager, and The Empower Sewing Group at the Arboretum in Guelph, ON
2016:  Charlottetown Police Services
2015:  Noreen and George Shaw
2014:  Irwin and Parker Jewell - Jewell's Produce Ltd.
2013:  Rotary Club of Stratford
2012:  Souris Village Feast
2011:  Chef Emily Wells & staff at Agriculture Canada, Livestock Research Centre
2010:  Gerry McQuaid and the Hillsborough Rotary Club
2009:  Bev and Shirlee Simpson - Vesey’s Seeds Ltd
2008:  Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty

Farmers Helping Farmers Youth Award recognizes individuals (25 years and younger) and youth groups (classrooms, 4-H, AY, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, etc.) who have made outstanding contributions to public awareness about Farmers Helping Farmers and its work in Kenya. The successful nominee will be recognized for their extraordinary spirit that makes their contribution an inspiration to others, and exemplifies citizenship and volunteerism.

2021: Souris Regional School Class 7 and teacher Ilse Peters-Ching AND
Perth-Andover Middle School, NB Class 7S and teacher Kelly Stephenson
  Katie Carter Doiron and Lydia MacDougall
2017:  Souris Regional High Twinning Program
2016:  Hillcrest United Church Sunday School, Montague
2015:  Youth of Margate Pastoral Charge
2014:  West Kent Kenya Kousins Group
2013:  Ellen Moore
2012:  The Challenge Girls Leadership Club
2011:  Award Recipient: Caitlin McCarthy
2010:  UPEI Nursing Students (2009 and 2010)
2009:  Stonepark Farmers Helping Farmers Club
2008:  Stuart MacLean, Lot 16

Honourary Life Membership recognizes members who have made an outstanding and substantial contribution to the organization and its purpose. They have inspired and encouraged others to be engaged, and have served as an example within the organization.

2020: Dr. Rosemary Herbert, Charlottetown; Reg MacDonald, Blooming Point; Gerry McQuaid, Miscouche
2019: Dr. Jennifer Taylor
2018:  Nancy Russell and Jennifer Murogucho
  The Souris Village Feast Organizing Committee (Alan MacPhee, Pat O’Connor, Jack Jans, Loretta Campbell, Ilse Peters-Ching, Jolyne Sharkey, David Jenkins, Louise MacDonald, Sheila Eastman, Doris Jenkins and Chef Michael Smith)
2016:  Carolyn Francis
2015:  Dr. John Vanleeuwen
2014:  Dr. Linnell Edwards, Charlottetown
2013:  Dr. Winston Johnston
2012:  Dykerman Family
2011:  Harry Baglole
2010:  Priscilla Myers
2009:  Patsy Dingwell and Shaad Olingo
2008:  Barry Cudmore, Ellen Cudmore, Guy Cudmore, Roy Dickieson, Teresa Mellish, Katie VanEkris, and Olive Weeks

(Founding members of the organization who have remained active in the organization for the past 28 years.)