The Manitoba Government is aiming to increase access to locally grown food with an $81-thousand investment in the Local Sustainable Food Procurement Pilot Program.
The first phase of this pilot project, to be led by Local Foods Plus and Food Matters Manitoba, will shed light on barriers that exist to buying sustainably-produced local foods.
“This funding will allow Food Matters Manitoba to collect relevant information that will help farmers, purchasers and government find ways to grow the local, sustainable food economy,” said the province’s Agriculture Minister, Ron Kostyshyn.
“We want to see our local producers sell more of the great products they have to offer, while at the same time, making it easier for institutional customers to get their hands on those products,” he said.
The second phase of the project will help farmers acquire Local Food Plus certification, as well as give purchasers guidance on how to source local items.
Kostyshyn’s announcement was made during the Golden Carrot Awards ceremony at the Legislative Building on Wednesday morning. The Golden Carrots are an annual event to acknowledge community food champions who are working hard to create a just and sustainable food system in Manitoba.
“These often unsung heroes are doing work that makes a tremendous difference for a more food secure Manitoba,” said Stefan Epp-Koop, program manager with Food Matters Manitoba, which organizes the awards.
“The awards are an inspirational opportunity to hear about some of the great work happening in our province and acknowledge those people whose hard work is making a difference in communities across Manitoba,” he said.
There were nominations accepted in seven areas: rural, urban, northern, business, media, education and youth.
Some of this year’s nominees include the Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative, Brandon Community Garden Network, horticultural therapist Cheryl Cohan, Saigon Jon’s Vietnamese Kitchen owner Johnny Kien, U of W chef Ben Kramer, CBC Manitoba’s Ismaila Alfa, Ciao! Magazine, CMU instructor Kenton Lobe, Northern Manitoba Funding Collaborative’s Julie Price and Andrea McIvor’s class at D.R. Hamilton School in Cross Lake. A complete list of nominees and their bios can be found here.
“It’s great,” said nominee Jasmine Tara, Food Security/Greening Coordinator at North End Community Renewal Corporation. “It’s really nice to be alongside people like [fellow nominee] Moneca Sinclair, who is so amazing and is someone I look up to.”
Since the awards’ inception seven years ago, over 200 Manitobans have been honoured.