Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 05/15/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Ron O'Donovan remembers asking his wife Eunice to scribble down the phrase "Grow a Row" and stick it in the glove compartment.
It was the end of summer; the couple was headed out on holiday and they had 150 pounds of leftover potatoes from their backyard garden and no place for them. They also wanted to help the city's hungry.
That bounty from the garden would grow into a huge idea to help people who can't grow their own food and can't buy enough of it, either.
Flash forward 27 years. O'Donovan's now a widower. But the idea he and his wife hatched in the car that summer day is reaping vegetables from hundreds of backyards that supply the province's largest food bank every year.
This is the 27th year for the food bank's Grow a Row challenge.
O'Donovan was on hand with Winnipeg Harvest spokeswoman Chris Albi and high school students at a press conference to promote the event again at Harvest's raised gardens behind its warehouse on Winnipeg Avenue.
Every province runs similar annual challenges, and in the United States, 15,000 Americans rely on the produce from backyard gardeners.
"The program is a win-win for every food bank in North America," O'Donovan said.
In Winnipeg, more than three million pounds of potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables have been distributed since the program first started.
This year, Food Matters Manitoba, a local environmental charity that encourages the growing of locally sustainable gardens from northern Manitoba to the border, teamed up with Winnipeg Harvest Monday for the annual summer challenge to backyard gardeners.
That means this year, gardeners who plant "an edible landscape" that looks as good as it tastes can vie for the honour of planting the prettiest food from the earth and win prizes from local garden-supply greenhouses.
The charity donated 129 gardening kits to Manitoba schools for kids to plant vegetables for the food bank this summer.
"The contest is open from June 15 to Aug. 15. All you have to do is take a photo and enter online at our website at foodmattersmanitoba.ca," said the charity's acting director Stefan Epp-Koop.
He said he's hoping gardeners who enter the contest will also donate some of their vegetables to the food bank.
Some 35 schools have signed up to grow a row this year and for one school, that garden is at a seniors' home, the Riverside Lions in St. Vital.
Grade 11 students from J.H. Bruns Collegiate are taking up trowels and seed packets under a school project called SHOW, Students Helping Our World. Every year, the project chooses a theme, and this year it's about growing your own food.
"We're working on turning our dream into reality," said Jamie Campbell.
She and Julia Stoyko, both 16, are part of a team of 10 to 12 student gardeners who will work with seniors to produce root vegetables for Winnipeg Harvest.
Winnipeg Harvest supplies food for nearly 64,000 people, half of them under 18, every month, according to the food bank's figures for 2011-12.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2013 B2
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Life sentence upheld for conviction in rooming-house fire that killed 5
City resumes search for CAO
Complaints of police misconduct down in 2013: report
Charges laid in Red Sucker Lake homicide
Winning designs for 2015 warming huts unveiled
Province to create new policing program for First Nations
Dauphin police seek teen missing nearly a week
Feds warn dozens of First Nations may lose funding
Fire destroys St. Norbert home, damages home next door
Closer to exoneration
Event gives simulated taste of poverty's unique woes
Liquidate Canad Inns: receiver
Bitterly cold November day one to remember
'Bannock mobile' seized over tickets
Big Grass Marsh gets largest-ever conservation deal
City man found dead in river near Belize home
No probe of expenses claimed by Douglas
Police HQ contractor wins bid for snow-dump land
Plan for new suburb gets endorsement from city hall
City Hall Roundup
Nutcracker the last step in artistic trifecta
Seal death raises questions
Wilgosh to leave top job with WRHA
Hamper test proves humbling
Bowman sneaking under the radar thanks to NDP
Northern food-subsidy program slammed as unfair
Cancer hub to expedite treatment
Crocus wants to recoup costs from Canad Inns
Municipalities to get more input on mosquito-fogging rules
Winnipeg candidates eye new campaigns
City to study how pipeline could affect Shoal Lake and aqueduct
Head of Winnipeg Regional Health Authority stepping down after five years at the helm
'Bannock Lady' faces $3,000 in tickets; vehicle seized
Manitoba Hydro to begin expropriating land for Bipole III hydro transmission line
Councillors growing weary of last-minute reports from the city administration
City endorses plan for 'Precinct E' while questions are raised about costs for services
Cab driver injured while trying to stop theft of his vehicle
Winnipeg joins in on UN campaign to end violence against women
CancerCare Manitoba setting up a virtual cancer hub to guide patients after diagnosis