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, MLA St. James
July 11, 2013

Harvest Moon Society

Mr. Speaker, Manitoba is fortunate to have the Harvest Moon Society working to develop sustainable local food systems that promote healthy eating, provide reliable income for farmers and create a connection between the Manitoban consumer and farmer. The Harvest Moon Society uses participatory, grassroots methods to promote environmentally sustainable food and strengthen relationships between urban and rural communities.

The Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative is a network of food-buying clubs in Winnipeg and western Manitoba. City residents can order a variety of meat and produce from local farmers and have them delivered to several buying club drop-off locations in their neighbourhood by the farmers who have grown or raised that food. Farmers follow set production standards to raise healthy animals and plants and protect the environment.

I am proud to have provided a location for a club in St. James behind my office at Portage and Linwood. This June, we had our first pickup where I had a chance to meet two farmers involved in Harvest Moon Local Food. Lisa Clouston and Greg Wood own Spring Creek Farm, where they sustainably and humanely raise grass-fed beef, pastured pork and chickens and more. They are energetic about their commitment to giving everyone who participates in the initiative the ability to definitively answer the question, Who's Your Farmer?, which is the initiative's catchphrase.

The Harvest Moon Society also promotes its vision of a more sustainable food system through its many educational programs. At the Harvest Moon Learning Centre in Clearwater, they hold workshops in water stewardship, sustainable agriculture and alternative energy, and run an annual summer camp to teach children about sustainability. They host student interns and partner with the University of Manitoba faculty of architecture to hold studios to salvage materials from abandoned buildings. And at the annual Harvest Moon Festival, people from across Manitoba can enjoy the talents of local musicians and artists and connect with local producers.

In an urban centre, it is easy for us to forget where our food comes from and who grows or raises it. I would like to commend the Harvest Moon Society for their work in helping to decrease the distance between farmer and consumer and in promoting a more local, fair and sustainable food system right here in Manitoba. I encourage anyone who is interested in supporting Manitoba producers and having fresh food delivered right to our community to visit their website.

Thank you very much.