July 24, 2014 - Thousands of children rely on Winnipeg Harvest every month to get enough to eat, and each year the need for more food grows. Emterra Group wants to help Winnipeg Harvest expand its Community Gardening Programs so that kids and adults have access to nutritious, locally-grown food and at the same time learn the value of good food decisions and build horticultural skills that last a lifetime.
Today, Emterra Group announced sustaining sponsorship funding of $60,000 over three years for Winnipeg Harvest’s Community Garden programs. The funding is being made available through Emterra’s national Community Care™ program, under an inaugural “Plant-to-Plate™” project that Emterra is introducing in Winnipeg and plans to expand to other communities throughout Canada.
"We hope our "Plant-to-Plate™" program will positively impact thousands of Winnipeggers every year,” said Emterra's Founder and CEO, Emmie Leung. “This multi-year funding will help people receive the food they need to make ends meet, but thanks to Winnipeg Harvest it will do more. It will help children and adults learn how to make healthy food decisions and teach them skills to grow their own food. We believe this partnership with Winnipeg Harvest will make our community healthier and environmentally stronger. It’s just one of the ways Emterra is investing in Winnipeg.”
The sponsorship announcement was held at Winnipeg Harvest’s Winnipeg Avenue location which includes a two-acre plot where volunteer clients of the food bank and school groups tend dozens of raised-bed gardens that are bursting with fruit and vegetables. Along with the boxed-in gardens, Winnipeg Harvest has converted dozens of blue boxes that were discarded or donated when the City of Winnipeg moved to a blue rollout cart system for residential collection of recyclables.
Funding from Emterra is being used to develop and expand the growing space as well as create beds at various heights and wider walkways to make the gardens accessible for people of all mobilities.
Winnipeg Harvest Board President, Gordon Pollard said, “We are really excited about the new partnership with Emterra Group. With their generous support, we are planting the seeds for future development in our Community Garden and Blue Box programs. This will impact the hungry families we feed and teach them how to grow their own food and feed themselves. It is one step closer for stepping up and out of poverty. Thank you for your help Emterra Group.”
City of Winnipeg Acting Deputy Mayor, Grant Nordman (Councillor for St. Charles) and Councillor Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) also spoke at the announcement.
Acting Deputy Mayor Nordman complimented Winnipeg Harvest on the excellence of its work to feed hungry Winnipeggers adding, “We welcome Emterra in becoming the latest in a long line of corporate sponsors helping support those less fortunate in our community.”
Councillor Mike Pagtakhan, Point Douglas noted, “The City of Winnipeg has a long-standing relationship with Winnipeg Harvest and appreciates all the work they do for the community. The Community Gardens Program is continually growing and will continue to assist feeding hungry people and teaching them to grow food for themselves. We applaud Emterra Environmental for their support of this program and look forward to seeing future growth."
Emterra Environmental is a division of Emterra Group’s family of companies. It has been a member of the Winnipeg business community since 2003 when, under contract with the city, it started picking up and processing recyclables from single and multi family homes. On October 1, 2012, Emterra Environmental began a multi-year integrated solid waste collection contract with the city involving a substantial expansion of the curbside recycling collection as well as garbage, yard waste and bulk waste collection. Emterra employs about 200 people in the collection and processing operations.
Winnipeg Harvest introduced its Community Gardening Program nearly 30 years ago when it began encouraging Winnipeggers to plant an extra row of vegetables in their personal gardens to be donated to its food bank under its Grow-A-Row initiative. Since then, with the help of local partners, the program has grown to include blue box container gardens and on-site raised gardens programs.
The Community Gardening Programs bring in Special Education students to spend the summer at Winnipeg Harvest caring for Harvest’s garden and sorting food in their warehouse. Throughout the summer, Winnipeg Harvest welcomes groups of children and youth from summer camps and daycares for tours and work projects, and the garden is an important part of the experience. On average, more than 342, 337 kg of fruits and vegetables (753, 141 pounds) are harvested annually supplementing the food bank stocks.