News / Winnipeg

Manitobans hungry for more local food: community group

Survey says: Let's eat more food from our backyard.

Garden trug harvest basket with homegrown vegetables, tomatoes, beans, zucchini.

Spectator Staff

Garden trug harvest basket with homegrown vegetables, tomatoes, beans, zucchini.

An upcoming Manitoba festival, rooted in the province’s local food scene, is marking a new milestone this week. But feedback from Winnipeggers shows there’s room for the community to grow.

The Harvest Moon Festival, running Sept. 15-17 in Clearwater, Man., is a celebration of the province’s harvest season and local food production, with a sweet lineup, including locals Mama Cutsworth, Dirty Catfish Brass Band and Saskatoon’s Close Talker.

“It helps put a face on who’s buying the food and who’s producing it,” said Robert Guilford, co-chair of the Harvest Moon Society.

“It was kind of a glorified picnic the first year,” he added.

The sold-out festival, now in its 16th year, fills the town of Clearwater with more than 1,000 visitors, providing a link between rural and urban communities.

Recent public surveys for a new national food policy show Manitobans are hungry for a deeper connection to their fruits and veggies.

Food Matters Manitoba recently conducted two consultations to collect data for the federal government's food policy.

“People in Winnipeg, from what we heard, [want to see] leadership, programs, funding and policy that support localized food activities,” said Rob Moquin, a policy manager with the community group.

A second event, in Wabowden, Man., focused on the high prices of food in the north.

“It’s always a challenge, the cost of freight and transportation and having access to fresh and healthy food,” Moquin said.  

“There was a lot of talk about creating space and expertise to grow and harvest.”

The consultations were done in partnership with Grow North and Food Secure Canada, and are among many similar events across the country.

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