“Let’s continue to build on this effort to bring more food security to this province.”
– Rosann Wowchuk
Organic greenhouse grower and farm and rural advocate David Neufeld of Boissevain is the recipient of one of six “Golden Carrot” awards handed out at the Manitoba legislature on World Food Day last week.
This is the second year the Manitoba Food Charter has presented these awards in recognition of outstanding efforts by individuals, businesses and community groups to bolster food security in Manitoba.
In all, 40 nominations were made in six categories including rural, urban, northern, education, business and media.
Neufeld was honoured as a Rural Community Food Champion for his work to mentor young people in farming, his writing and speaking about rural issues and his service on local committees to encourage more people to farm and live rurally.
Neufeld operates Room to Grow Greenhouse on land southeast of Boissevain. He helped spearhead the Small Farm Challenge in Manitoba in 2006.
The rural category had the most entries, including nominees farmer Brian Chorney and teacher Sheree Drystek of East Selkirk Middle School, who’ve developed a Crops in the Classroom curriculum; Lawrence and Pat Allard of Oakbank, who donate produce from their huge garden to food banks; the Organic Food Council of Manitoba (OFCM); Jordan Seed Farm at Eriksdale; and the DeRuyck family of Swan Lake. Organic farmer Kate Storey of Grandview, farmers’ market advocate Jeanette Ens of Minnedosa, community shared agriculture (CSA) business owner Sheri Blaylock of Portage la Prairie, and Janine Gibson, a founder of OFCM, were also nominated.
Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk congratulated all nominees, saying her government values the work of the Manitoba Food Charter, particularly its efforts to link food policy with production.
“Let’s continue to build on this effort to bring more food security to this province,” she said.
Larry McIntosh, president and CEO of Peak of the Market, was awarded the Golden Carrot prize in the business category. The prize was awarded to McIntosh for his enthusiastic promotion of Manitoba-grown produce as well as in recognition of Peak’s donations and ongoing support to Winnipeg Harvest. Peak has donated over a million pounds of food to the food bank distribution centre.
Teulon Collegiate’s Sustainable Development Green Team won the Golden Carrot in the education category. The school has established an on-site greenhouse and plans to grow a large garden next year.
These serve as both a source of food for their local canteen as well as an educational opportunity, said school resource teacher Robin Vande. It has enabled community members in Teulon, who know how to garden and grow food for themselves, to share that skill and knowledge with a younger generation that doesn’t, she said.
“It is as valuable a life skill as any other life skills that are taught in the education system,” she said.
Other golden carrot award winners included Mardy Yaeger and Ken Oswald (Urban Food Champion), who helped establish the Seven Oaks Community Garden in Winnipeg, and aboriginal diabetes educator Daisy Monkman of Berens River (Northern Food Champion).
Winnipeg Free Press reporter Bartley Kives earned the Golden Carrot for Media Champion. He was recognized for his writing on food and the environment, including stories on the local-versus-organic-versus-free trade debate.
The Golden Carrot Awards are funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada, Heifer International Canada and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.