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2009 Golden Carrot Awards
2009 Golden Carrot Awards
With the generous support of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, Heifer International, Fernwood Books and Place Louis Riel, Food Matters Manitoba hosted the 2009 Golden Carrot Awards to recognize Manitoba’s Own Community Food Champions. The awards ceremony took place October 16th, 2009 from 9:30am to 11:30am as part of World Food Day events. The Golden Carrot Awards honour Manitoba individuals or groups who are working towards a more just a sustainable food system for all Manitobans. Award categories include Rural, Urban, Northern, Business, Media, and Education Community Food Champions. These awards shine the spotlight on Manitobans doing inspiring things with food for our communities.
To our delight 27 nominations were received this year! All 2009 Community Food Champions received certificates at this years ceremony and northern Community Food Champions were honoured at the Northern Harvest Forum in Thompson, the evening of October 22nd.
Rural Community Food Champions
Lisa DeRuyck works on her family's organic farm in Treherne Manitoba. Her work has involved pastured poultry and pork, and assisting in maintaining the family market. She is always willing to share her knowledge in organic livestock or market gardening with anyone who is interested, and brings that knowledge to organizations where she volunteers. Lisa volunteers at her school in activities that promote healthy eating, healthy living, and environmental issues. She helps with the school breakfast program and assists in the preparation of a noon meal program. Lisa is also an active member of the Green Team, where she has organized recycling projects, watered school gardens, set up environmental speakers, and taken care of plants over the summer. Her volunteering with Communities in Bloom involved holding compost workshops and she serves in the Manitoba High School Athletic Association Champion Program, as a presenter to Grade 5 students on health programs.
DeRuycks Organics is run by Gerry and Marie DeRuyck of Swan Lake, Manitoba. They are two of the most committed organic producers in Manitoba. They are not in the business as a means of profit, but more because of their beliefs. They have a passion for the cause and want help educate others with their experience, knowledge, and lessons learned. They are true ambassadors for the organic community.
Kelly Ditz is a farmer, chef, teacher, and local food advocate. His goal is to educate people on partaking of healthy living food, which means keeping our planet healthy for generations to come. Kelly has been involved in the organic food movement and operates his own company, aptly named The Farm, which is located near the town of Oakburn. Kelly grows squash, beans, cucumber, onions, and garlic, amongst other things. His company has a mission to create awareness and opportunities for local food production. Kelly strives to educate others about sustainable food production and ensure others have access to such food, while farmers make a return on their investment.
Janine Gibson is a certified organic food inspector and a member of the Northern Sun Farm near Steinbach. Janine was nominated as a rural CFC for her efforts to promote and educate others on food culture and production. She volunteers countless hours towards this cause and was a founding member of OFCM, plus she represents Manitoba in numerous capacities related to agriculture and water quality. She is an asset for all people looking to create sustainable lives and personal food security. Janine’s leadership, inspiration, encouragement, sense of humour, and goodwill were also acknowledged in her nomination.
George & Shelly Matheson have a family farm in Stonewall, Manitoba, where they have been farming with integrity and passion for over 25 years. They sell naturally raised hogs that are allowed to roam and root, and have recently diversified into pastured poultry. The Mathesons’ are first-rate hosts, welcoming customers onto their farm for a tour of their operation. Their farm is a good example of an environmentally safe operation. They provide food to local markets and their family of six is a shining example of hard work, ethics, and respect for the land and animals that provide their livelihood. They respect tradition and embrace the best business practices, while being an inspirational modern-day family farm.
Jan McIntyre serves her community of Cartwright in various capacities, always as an advocate for food, agriculture and justice issues. Jan has combined her role as a farm wife with a passion for food and justice issues. She has served as a rural voice on the Manitoba Food Charter in its founding stages, worked through her church on food justice issues and helped organize a Food Justice Camp, served on the Manitoba Farm and Rural Stress Line Board of Directors, is among the founding farm families of the Harvest Moon Society Local Food Initiative (an effort to connect consumers with farmers willing and able to supply local food products), and she has helped convert the Clearwater School into a sustainable agriculture and food training facility.
Bob Pizey & Betty Kehler live in the middle of the Interlake, on Plum Ridge Farm near Teulon, a small 40-acre fruit farm that was once empty, tired land. Bob and Betty's farm is framed by rows of mature trees, and is truly an oasis that shows their 30 years of care and attention. Long before organic farming was common, Bob and Betty grew food with methods that were good for the land. Careful composting, crop rotation, and a flock of geese to help with weeding are just some of the practices they use that have made them a name amongst the local population. At first thought to be hippies, time has changed notions, as year after year people travel to their farm to pick fruit and see their land restored to health. Now semi-retired from their U-pick operation, Bob and Betty take the time to educate others and promote the art of caring for the land. School and community groups have benefited from their willingness to educate others on topics such as tree planting and pruning, home canning, and eating a healthy local diet.
Urban Community Food Champions
Shauna Carmichael, with dedication, commitment and drive, organized and developed a community garden in the Osborne Village neighborhood. Her efforts brought together people from all levels of government, community, and the public in this endeavor. The Osborne Village Community Garden began this year and Shauna and was the driving force behind it, getting volunteers, donations, and gardeners of all ages to participate. She helps others learn about gardening and growing food, and fosters positive relations between those involved. She has been endorsed for this work by her MLA Jennifer Howard, and has garnered attention from community newspapers.
Kate Dykman worked tirelessly to bring composting to community gardens in Winnipeg's West End. She also involved local businesses in the venture such as Ellice Café, where they have reduced their waste and landfill by about 25% and contributed to the betterment of community gardens. In her role as Compost Program Coordinator at Spence Neighborhood Association last year Kate could be seen moving the compost from restaurants to gardens on her bike throughout the year - even in winter!
Debby & Glen Johnson have worked diligently to establish community gardens on Ravenhurst Street in Transcona. There are now over 70 plots where local residents of all ages grow organic vegetables, and gardeners volunteer their time and labour to help maintain the site. Debby and Glen left no stone unturned in search of resources to turn a hay meadow into a very attractive and productive location. There was a real need for a community garden in Transcona and that need was filled at a time when a downturn in the economy emerged, encouraging more people to grow at least some of their own food.
Raymond Djimasbe Ngarboui is originally from Chad in Central Africa. In his three years in Canada he has proven to be an amazing individual who is dedicated to making a difference for refugees. He shows exceptional fortitude in working with new families in programs that facilitate healthier living and create opportunities for them to grow their own vegetables and be self sufficient. Raymond realized that adjustment to local foods is one of the top challenges for newcomers, so he decided to initiate community gardens in his Central Park neighborhood. Raymond got support from the Knox Centre Board, and with the help of the City of Winnipeg and several departments at the U of M, Raymond got land for gardens at several sites. As of last year, Raymond did not have any funding and adequate gardening tools for his projects, and he is volunteering most of his time in spring and summer teaching newcomers, immigrants, and single mothers how to plant and take care of vegetables. He is also planning workshops on “How to conserve vegetables and greens” & “Local food and health”. Raymond also has an individual plot at University of Manitoba student gardens, and one at Sister MacNamara School, where he is sharing his gardening experience with other students and school children. Raymond is also involved with Immigrants and Refugees Community of Manitoba (IRCOM) Top Roof Garden project and has initiated the Immigrants Integration and Farming Worker Co-op Ltd. (IIFC). Raymond is a person who has a strong work ethic and initiates opportunities for new Canadians. He has the ability to understand their needs and provide ways to make a difference.
Northern Community Food Champions
Jeff Ashley is a resident of Dauphin River and is an avid gardener. Jeff got his start at a young age, helping his mother in her garden. Jeff is very passionate about gardening and wants everyone in his home community to be able to have somewhere to garden. He has been instrumental in getting a community garden established and has done most of the labor on the 40X100 plot, spending many hours preparing the site. He also maintains the garden tools and equipment. Jeff passes his gardening knowledge on to others in his community, providing guidance and support on setting up and maintaining gardens, & is the go to guy for advice & help.
Hilda Holmstrom is from Pelican Rapids, Manitoba. She is the Mayor of this small community and has worked tirelessly to promote gardening there. Thanks to her dream of a more beautiful and healthy community, the school and health center both have community gardens and many families have gardens in their backyards. She is a resourceful individual and recycles people’s unwanted items, reusing them in her gardening projects. For example, she is always happy to show others how used tires and sinks make great planters.
Gladys Williams is passionate about helping people in her First Nations community of Hollow Water, 85 km north of Pine Falls. She is currently employed at the health center as the prenatal nutrition program worker and community health representative. In this capacity Gladys hosts regular cooking classes for prenatal and postnatal women, where she highlights traditional foods and economical store-bought foods that are healthy. Over the past four summers she has also turned a spot beside the health center into a garden, where she grows a variety of vegetables like carrots, beets, zucchini, parsnips, tomatoes, and more. She invites people from the community to harvest them and helps them prepare delicious healthy meals and snacks. Gladys has many years of canning experience as well, and enjoys teaching others how to can vegetables and make jams and jellies with blueberries from the land.
Eleanor Woitowicz is an avid gardener and teacher at Mel Johnson School in Wabowden. She is growing a healthier community thorough her ever-expanding school gardening project. Over the past three years she has established 45 gardens in the homes of her students and is involving elders now. Her innovative project is the subject of a documentary film and she presents to other educators throughout Manitoba on beginning projects of their own. Eleanor teaches students valuable skills such as sustainable food production, healthy eating, and food preparation. She helps her students set an example for their parents, and their diets are changing for the better because of her work. She creates an innovative and inspiring program and is a model for other educators.
Heather Souter is passionate about securing access to affordable healthy food for her community of Camperville, and has demonstrated this through her commitment to establishing a food buying club there. Over the last few years Heather has worked tirelessly to establish a food buying club, including proving the project's feasibility and organizing all the logistics of making it a reality. The vision that she shares is not only that it will be a success, but that it will evolve into a cooperative grocery store to serve the area for years to come. Heather is always more than happy to speak to others about her work and share information, and her passion for securing access to affordable healthy food for people in her community is inspiring.
Business Community Food Champions
Erin Crampton owns and operates Cramptons Market in southwest Winnipeg. Her small seasonal business sells the best of what Manitoba farmers produce to middle-class consumers who are concerned about where their food comes from. She educates her customers on healthy eating and offers educational sessions on nutrition and food preparation. She sources directly from farmers and help them plan for the coming growing season, all while ensuring that they get paid fairly for their crops. She writes a blog, has a newsletter, and provides jobs for 25 youth from the surrounding area as well. Erin fills this niche market with enthusiasm and passion for feeding people the best of what Manitoba farmers have to offer, and although difficult to get to, her market has long line-ups and had to triple in size to serve the growing demand for local food.
Marnie Feeleus of Fresh Options established her business to create a broadly accessible localized organic food supply chain where there wasn't one. Fresh Options has grown relationships with Manitoba producers and farmers, and connects with ethical eaters through their home delivery service, restaurants, store, and daycare sales. They are proactive in sourcing local and planning plantings with growers to ensure they produce marketable crops, which allows farmers to spend more time on the land and reduces their input costs. Collaborative action has also allowed them to lower the cost of organic foods and increase access for consumers, regardless of their economic situation. Fresh Options has a strict system to reduce food waste through packaging, recycling, and composting, and they donate their surplus food to community groups such as food banks and community centers.
Media Community Food Champion
Coleen Rajotte and her APTN series Vitality Gardening makes growing healthy food in the north accessible. Her program engages people and communities in being more food secure and eating healthily, all while bringing traditional plants and foods back onto their plates, and she learns along with her viewers and broadcasts from real peoples’ gardens in the north. Coleen's experience with gardening is fairly recent, but her willingness to learn and wonder at what can be grown in the north helps viewers feel that they can grow their own healthy food as well. She is a great example of the good media can do in their communities.
Education Community Food Champions
The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba works to improve the nutritional health and well-being of Manitoba children through education, advocacy, and nutrition program support. Over seven years they have raised awareness about nutrition and the need for food and nutrition policies in schools and daycares, and helped guide decision-makers in developing those policies. They administer grants and donations, that translates into breakfast, snack, and lunch programs throughout Manitoba. Their work improves the quality of childhood nutrition and helps programs be sustainable. Their work has reached over 18,000 children and provides resources to parents and educators. They also train program coordinators in becoming familiar with nutrition program management and healthy eating.
Daily Health Awareness Team in Hamiota supports healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating. They have worked in partnership with government, community groups, schools, and health agencies to provide programming to families in their region. They offer newsletters, health fairs, nutrition challenges, grocery store shopping tours, veggie challenges, healthy lunch classes, and hot lunch consultations to help community members eat well and be healthy. Their «Color Your World Challenge» helps kids learn the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and helps them keep track of their consumption. It also involves parents, emphasizing healthy food choices from Canada's Food Guide. Their program as a model of partnership and community engagement for others to follow.
Lisa DeRuyck of Treherne Manitoba, at the age of 17, decided that her classmates needed healthier food choices at school. She went to her teacher and asked if she could volunteer her time to prepare healthy food for theri canteen. The teacher accepted the challenge and helped Lisa buy the groceries and provide more nutritious lunches for students. Lisa tries many recipes and offers surprise meals once a week. When lunch is done she volunteers to feed them breakfast and helps with the school gardens, sports teams, and peer support, amongst other things. She loves to cook and is always willing to do something to better her school, her classmates health, and the environment. She is part of a third-generation organic farm and enjoys any challenge she is faced with. Her love of helping others is amazing and she always walks around with a big smile.
Harvest Moon Society is based in Clearwater, Manitoba. They operate a learning center that works toward strengthening and building links between urban and rural citizens and empowering communities through local sustainable food. It focuses on community-based education that is accessible and relevant to rural culture and traditions. Their programs include food security and food sovereignty, canning and food skills workshops, an experiential university learning course, teacher education around the environment and local food systems, community gardens, youth exchanges, and a nature trail with edible plants. They work with farmers, researchers, urbanites, and youth to increase understanding about where food comes from and why it is so important to think about. All of their work is done by a team of dedicated volunteers and they also host a hugely successful Harvest Moon Festival in fall each year. They are a leader in grassroots change towards sustainability and rural community development.
Mme. Anita Jamault from Notre Dame de Lourdes is a teacher’s aid at the Notre Dame elementary school, where she organizes a food drive in the community and with the help of the Grade 6 students delivers the food to Siloam Mission in Winnipeg. This project takes place in October to demonstrate in a concrete way the concept of Thanksgiving and sharing with those in need. Every item of food collected in the drive is brought to school, where students take inventory, wrap those items that require it, and load everything in vehicles. The students, accompanied by Mrs. Jamault and a few volunteer parents, spend some time at Siloam Mission, where they discover how their donation will serve. They meet the people who work there and gain an understanding of what goes into feeding Winnipeg’s homeless.
École Jours de Plaine School in Laurier is trying to change the world. Staff and students take on many projects in their school and community to promote education, build relationships, and maintain healthy lifestyles. They have creative projects at every level (k-12) and people in the community are encouraged to get involved in these intergenerational projects. Some of the projects include cooking classes, hot meal programs, international lunches, a milk program, a Healthy Living Code, the 30 Hour Famine, food hampers for families in need, visits to local producers, and a composting project. It is by uniting students, teachers, parents, grandparents and community members that Ecole Jours de Plaine can promote all the elements of healthy eating & lifestyles.
Staff at École élémentaire Notre-Dame in Notre Dame de Lourdes have developed a nutrition education project for students from kindergarten to Grade 6. Each month a food group from the Canada Food Guide is chosen and students are encouraged to include at least one item from this group in their lunch box. For each item, the student receives one point. Later, points are added up and the student receives a ticket to be used towards an activity (i.e. longer recess). This project teaches students about good food choices, familiarises them with the Food Guide, and fosters healthy eating habits from an early age. Also, children encourage their peers to participate as there is a reward for this too. Their efforts reach parents through a newsletter as well.
Fort Whyte Farms in Winnipeg is a model program for engaging youth, addressing social issues, and promoting sustainable agriculture. Initially began as a 200-acre preserve and public education facility on reclaimed industrial land, Fort Whyte has grown to include more than 640 acres of education, recreation, and agricultural programs. More than 40,000 K-12 students take part in their school programs and summer day camps every year and the Fort Whyte Farm Program for inner city at-risk youth has high school students take full responsibility for their beekeeping, fruit orchards, gardening & composting, pastured poultry, aquaponics, and greenhouse. It is described as “hands-on training in urban agriculture to foster personal and skill development”. Fort Whyte Farm Youth Internship Program offers summer employment which involves tending to the food crops and livestock and selling it at an on-site store and local markets three times a week. Fort Whyte Farms future plans include pastured pork and the expansion of the gardens, and the greenhouse will be used as a training facility for northern communities that want to start their own greenhouses.