Winnipeg has partnered with a cooperative to support the distribution of local farm-fresh products by utilizing city land.
The partnership between the City of Winnipeg and the member-owned Direct Farm Manitoba was announced Friday, as the city also encouraged people to support Winnipeg Harvest’s Grow-A-Row program.
“The impact that COVID-19 is having on our local economy is extending to farmers’ markets that are struggling to safely distribute their produce,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.
“Recognizing that food security issues are of particular importance this year, I’m proud to announce that our municipal government is creating additional city locations for use as food hubs.”
Farmers or groups of farmers can use designated spots to arrange scheduled drop-off/pick-up times with their customers for items such as vegetables, meat, and dairy products. The food hubs will open in June and continue throughout the fall season.
The Lord Roberts Community Centre’s South Osborne Farmers Market and the R.A. Steen Community Centre’s Wolseley Farmers’ Market have been confirmed as the first two sites. Additional locations of both farmers’ markets and food hubs will be added in the coming week on the city’s website.
The city is also asking Winnipeggers with green thumbs to consider growing a row of fresh produce for Winnipeg Harvest, which will be donated to the food bank at the end of the season. Since the program’s inception in 1986, millions of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables have been yielded for people in need.
“Since COVID-19 struck, our warehouse is focused on packing and distributing emergency food hampers so we are unable to tend our garden this year,” said Keren Taylor-Hughes, CEO, Winnipeg Harvest.
“Community food drive donations are normally 20% of the food we receive. With gardening season about to begin, growing a row for Harvest would be a great way for the community to help fill our food gap.”