Founded in 2006 and relaunched in 2016, ALUS Canada sustains agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for all Canadians-one acre at a time.
For more than a decade, ALUS has been investing in farmers and ranchers who are producing acres of clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services in their communities.
And now, ALUS will make it possible for individuals, foundations and corporations to offset their own environmental footprint through agricultural stewardship.
The ALUS concept was created in Manitoba in 2006. Canada’s first-ever ALUS pilot project took place from 2006 to 2009 in the Rural Municipality of Blanshard, located within the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District. Funded by the Provincial Government, the pilot was strongly supported by Keystone Agricultural Producers, Manitoba’s largest farm organization, and the Delta Waterfowl Foundation. ALUS arose out of lengthy discussions with the agricultural community to try and address shortcomings in traditional approaches to conservation.
In September 2007, ALUS launched in Ontario—specifically, in Norfolk County, the heart of tobacco farm country. Norfolk County now has the oldest continuously running ALUS program in Canada.
As word spread about ALUS, provincial officials from Prince Edward Island met with ALUS Norfolk and, in 2008, implemented the program province-wide. Prince Edward Island is the first and only jurisdiction in Canada with a provincially-supported ALUS program, co-managed by the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the P.E.I. Department of Communities, Land and Environment.
The ALUS program spread to Alberta in 2010, when the County of Vermilion River, east of Edmonton, initiated a pilot project that enrolled more than 1,000 acres in its first year.
ALUS started to expand in Alberta and Ontario.
Parkland County became the second Albertan community to start an ALUS program in 2012.
ALUS planted its roots in Elgin County in 2012, beginning with a pilot project in Bayham Township.
And ALUS came to eastern Ontario in 2012: Ontario East ALUS Inc. operates within the watersheds of the Raisin Region and South Nation Conservation Authorities.
ALUS came to Red Deer County, Alberta, in 2013.
ALUS relaunched in Manitoba in 2014. The ALUS Little Saskatchewan River program now includes the original Blanchard pilot project, plus a much-expanded area around it—in fact, the Little Saskatchewan River Conservation District covers a territory of about one million acres.
ALUS announced its launch in Saskatchewan in 2011, but the project was greatly expanded in 2015, with the formation of the ALUS-Wascana and Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed (WUQWATR) community, as well as the ALUS Saskatchewan Assiniboine Project (ASAP) community, a partnership between ALUS Canada and the Assiniboine River Watershed Association and the Saskatchewan Farm Stewardship Association (SaskFSA).
In 2015, Mountain View County became the fourth Albertan community to embrace ALUS.
The County of Wetaskiwin and Leduc County partnered together with ALUS Canada in 2015 to run a joint ALUS program through their Sustainable Agriculture Program.
The ALUS Lambton program started up in 2015, in a partnership with Ontario Nativescape, a division of the Rural Lambton Stewardship Network
In 2016, ALUS Canada relaunched as an independent, nationally registered not-for-profit organization, supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.
In Alberta, ALUS Canada launched three new programs in 2016, partnerships with Flagstaff County, Brazeau County and the County of Northern Sunrise, respectively.
In Ontario, the ALUS Bayham program expanded into ALUS Elgin in 2016, to now include the Townships of Malahide, Central Elgin, Southwold, Dutton-Dunwich and West Elgin, all within Elgin County.
Excitingly, ALUS Canada also established the first-ever ALUS program in Québec in 2016, in partnership with the Fédération de l’UPA de la Montérégie.
As ALUS Canada continues to garner new funding, the ALUS program will continue to expand into new communities and new provinces, bringing the ALUS program to more and more Canadians.