Winnipeg Harvest’s garden is growing.
On July 24, Emterra Group announced it’s giving Winnipeg Harvest $60,000 over three years to expand the food bank’s community garden programs.
The funding comes from Emterra’s inaugural "plant-to-plate" project, which the waste management company hopes to expand to other Canadian cities through its national Community Care program.
"I find that the (Harvest) program is very inspired," said Emmie Leung, Emterra’s founder and CEO.
"They help the needy and teach them to eat the right way, sustainably, grow healthy food and make the environment stronger. Also, they help people to help themselves. You teach them how to fish and then they can stand on their own feet. By helping them to grow food, people can now do that at their own home."
The funding announcement was made in Harvest’s community garden, a two-acre plot behind its 1085 Winnipeg Ave. location. The space features a plethora of raised garden boxes, as well as dozens of blue boxes and old tires containing various plants. The garden is tended to by Harvest’s volunteer clients, as well as school groups, summer camps and special education students.
"We also use the produce we collect here in our kitchen, which we feed all the volunteers at Harvest with every day," said Gordon Pollard, Winnipeg Harvest board president. "We use it in our kitchen every day to feed the people who help us get food out to Winnipeggers and Manitobans."
Harvest’s community garden program has been running for almost 30 years with its Grow-A-Row initiative, which encourages people to plant an extra row of veggies in their garden for donation, but the garden behind Harvest is a brand-new project for the food bank.
"We wanted to be able to show kids that ‘Look, your food doesn’t just come from a box. You can get fresh produce. You could take one of those blue boxes and grow food yourself at your own home.’ That’s the kind of thing we’re looking to promote."
Leung, a former Winnipegger, immigrated to the city from China in 1972, graduating from the University of Manitoba with a BA in commerce. She said in her speech that Winnipeg "planted a seed, for my future and for the business."
"Winnipeg is the first place I landed and is close to my heart," Leung said. "I’d love to live here in Winnipeg, but the business takes me to lots of places. This is a way of giving back to the community."