Russell, Manitoba’s Lots a Tots Daycare receives $2,500 donation from Rooted in the Prairies Project winners Keating Seed Farms

Photo: Courtesy of The Russell Banner. Pictured from left to right: Melanie Shuya, past Chair of Russell's Lots a Tots; Katharyn Houston, CANTERRA SEEDS Territory Manager; Heather Betke, Director of Russell's Lots a Tots; and Claudia and Mark Keating of Keating Seed Farms.

The Lots a Tots Daycare expansion in Russell, Manitoba is getting a funding boost by way of a $2,500 donation from CANTERRA SEEDS through the company’s Rooted in the Prairies Project.

Mark and Claudia Keating are one of the original CANTERRA SEEDS shareholders and have been farming just outside Russell, Manitoba under Keating Seed Farms Inc. The Keating family have been seed growers since the 1950’s and they nominated Lots a Tots Daycare as a way to give back to the Russell community.

“We benefit a lot by living here and we’ve been blessed to live in this community over the years. It felt like a nice way to give something back,” says Mark Keating.

To celebrate 25 years in the seed business, CANTERRA SEEDS launched the Rooted in the Prairies Project in March 2021, with the goal of awarding ten $2,500 donations to local causes nominated by CANTERRA SEEDS seed grower shareholders and farmers throughout Western Canada.

The Lots a Tots Daycare expansion will accommodate up to 48 children with four rooms split between infants and pre-school aged children to give parents the opportunity to enter the workforce, strengthen the local economy and pursue personal growth.

“When I first started, there was quite a waiting list for spaces in childcare — particularly in the infants age group. We knew there was a big need for it,” says Melanie Shuya, former Chairperson of the Board at Lots a Tots Daycare. “The fundraising support we’ve gotten from businesses and community has been pretty amazing.”

One of those businesses is Bin 22 Coffee Co., a coffee shop the Keating's opened to create opportunities for high school students and young adults to get work experience, but also to provide something that would help draw younger families to the Russell community.

“If we want this community to thrive, we need young families — and young families need daycare,” says Claudia Keating. “There are lots of people who would love to work and provide for their families, so we thought it was important to support this project in any way we possibly could to create more available daycare spots.”

All winners from the Rooted in the Prairies Project will be featured in coming weeks on the CANTERRA SEEDS Behind the Seeds blog. For more information about our silver anniversary celebration and company history, visit

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