Brandonites who planted small-plot gardens around their city this summer probably didn t expect to reap a golden carrot for their efforts.
That s the award presented to their umbrella organization, the Brandon Community Garden Network, representing more than 500 community gardeners in the wheat city, Oct. 14 at the Manitoba legislature.
The Golden Carrot Awards are Food Matters Manitoba s yearly toast to groups, individuals and organizations nominated for their efforts in food production, public education and community engagement and development around food issues. The awards have been awarded to nominees since 2007 in rural, urban, northern, business, media and education categories.
The Brandon Community Garden Network is a a volunteer- based group co-ordinated by the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation and took home the golden carrot in the rural category.
The award in the business category went to Nature s Farm of Steinbach, owned by Herman and Sheryl Grauer. The 17,000-layer-hen, free-run facility also produces a gourmet pasta by the same brand name.
For education, the prize went to the Manitoba Farm Mentorship program which now has 28 mentor farms across the province. Some farmer participants with the mentorship program have interns working on their farms while others have made their farms available for tours and visitors, participated as speakers at events.
Winnipegger Molly McCracken was given the golden carrot in the urban category for her extensive involvement with the city s Good Food Club, an initiative of the West Broadway Development Corporation, which links city residents with local farms. McCracken has also been volunteering with the Clearwaterbased Harvest Moon Society.
The northern golden carrot this year goes to Naosap Harvest, a small company in Cranberry Portage that sustainably harvests and markets Manitoba wild rice to local and international buyers.
The media golden carrot this year was shared among Shel Zolkewich, creator of the Manitoba Food Bloggers Facebook page, Adrienne Percy for volunteer work on a project called the People s Food Policy Project, and Kris Antonius for developing Dig In Manitoba, a new website.
In all, more than 30 Manitobans were recognized for their contributions to local food at the ceremony which also honoured eight Golden Carrot Award distinctive honourees.
Golden Carrot awards have been presented since 2007. A complete list of nominees and past award recipients can be found at www.foodmatters manitoba.ca.
Food Matters Manitoba is funded through the province of Manitoba, the federal Rural Secretariat, Thomas Sill Foundation, The Winnipeg Foundation, YMCA and Heifer International.
Winners of Food Matters Manitoba s 2011 Golden Carrot awards, presented last week at the Manitoba legislature, include both individuals and organizations.Photo: Shannon VanRaes