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, MLA St. James
June 6, 2013

Winnipeg Harvest Grow-A-Row Program

Mr. Speaker, everyone should have access to nutritious food, in order to be able to lead active, productive lives. And being able to have regular access to fresh produce is key to having optimal health. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Winnipeg Airport Authority’s “Grow-A-Row” Challenge event in support of Winnipeg Harvest, where local organizations pledged to help ensure that this summer, more families will have access to healthy fruits and vegetables.

Through the “Grow-A-Row” program, Winnipeg Harvest encourages individuals, businesses, schools and community clubs to donate surplus produce from their gardens. Instead of going to waste, this healthy food is redistributed through Harvest.

It is easy to participate by committing a row or two of your garden. And for those who have no gardening space, Winnipeg Harvest provides boxes and seeds through their Blue Box Gardening Program. In fact, we will be growing three of these gardens made from recycling boxes in the St. James constituency office this summer. We will hopefully have a robust harvest of beets and carrots to donate in the fall.

This year is the Airport Authority’s 18th year participating in the Grow-A-Row program. In that time, WAA has donated almost 31,000 pounds of vegetables from their airport Harvest Garden, and they are challenging businesses and organizations in the community to join them. The WAA has dedicated a piece of land near the entrance to the airport that is tended by not only WAA employees but also some of the nearby 7-11 employees and others on a volunteer basis. I’d like to acknowledge this quiet community cooperation that has been ongoing for so many years between WAA and Winnipeg Harvest.

Mr. Speaker, it is easy to take access to healthy food for granted. The ability to have nutritious food as a daily option really is key to a healthy, successful life. This cooperative venture is a grassroots way to ensure more people have those choices. I would like to thank Winnipeg Harvest, the Winnipeg Airport Authority and the St. James businesses who are participating in the Grow-A-Row challenge for helping to improve Winnipeg families’ access to food. And I would like to invite individuals and businesses to join the Grow a Row program this summer.

Thank you.