It was encouraging to see the Manitoba Government's press release "Northern Communities Improving Self-Sufficiency with Healthy Food Projects,", but I could not help asking myself why not pursue Healthy Food Projects throughout Manitoba including Winnipeg?
The Government boasts about how its contribution of "$600,000, ... has leveraged support from a number of other sources" helping to ensure that "more than 400 vegetable gardens have been planted in communities all over the North."
In Winnipeg, however, the Province failed to keep the plants blooming at 198 Sherbrook this past spring. Originally a vacant lot that was repurposed into a garden by local residents in 1991, it was purchased for $30.500 by the West Broadway Development Corporation in 2001 with the help of a provincial grant. This past spring the WBCD decided that the $2000 in annual taxes was "...a cost that is not sustainable"; opting instead to build housing. Where was the province on this one? Does a community garden not warrant a measley $2000 per annum in government funding?
We need a Winnipeg Healthy Foods Initiative. Fresh produce may not be as cripplingly expensive here in Winnipeg as it is in the North, but we still need to deal with critical challenge of ensuring food security. All Manitobans need to create a local self-sufficient food supply. Such a supply would reduce imported low-nutrition foods and feature healthy locally grown foods. Manitobans would reacquainte themselves with their daily bread, by learning about traditional harvesting and food preservation techniques. In short, Winnepeggers and Northerners alike can all reduce the ecological impact of the food we eat.