Greenhouse program targets food insecurity

 By Miranda Leybourne

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

In response to soaring food prices, the Manitoba Metis Federation is investing in seven new food security greenhouses across the province.

The greenhouses will supply around 100,000 pounds of vegetables per year for MMF citizens, the organization’s president David Chartrand said in a recent release. Details regarding a large-scale food security greenhouse are on the way.

“Food security is a growing concern, one that requires significant strategic thought and discussion to find innovative solutions,” Chartrand said.

In August, Manitoba’s consumer price index rose seven per cent on a year-over-year basis, down from a 7.6 per cent gain in July, largely driven by lower gas prices in August compared with July, Statistics Canada’s latest Consumer Price Index report said. Price growth for goods and services both slowed on a year-over-year basis in August.

According to the CPI report, released Sept. 20, prices for food purchased from stores continued to increase in August, rising at the fastest pace since 1981 at a 10.8 per cent gain. The supply of food was impacted by extreme weather, high input costs, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supply-chain disruptions.

On a year-over-year basis, Canadians paid more for meat, dairy products, bakery products, fresh fruit, non-alcoholic beverages, condiments, spices and vinegars, sugar and confectionery items and fish, seafood and other marine products.

As the Sun previously reported, a poll from Food Banks Canada indicated that hunger and food insecurity are rising across the country, with lower-income Canadians hit hardest by inflation.

“It’s really hard to hear just how many people in this country are struggling,” Food Banks Canada CEO Kristin Beardsley said in June. “We found that nearly one in five Canadians report going hungry over the last two years.”

It seems like everybody is concerned about rising food prices and whether or not they can feed their families over the winter, said Leah LaPlante, MMF vice-president. It’s especially true for low-income individuals as well as families and seniors.

“There is concern, for sure, throughout the community,” she told the Sun.

The greenhouse initiative is one way the MMF can help “alleviate” the problem of food insecurity for its citizens, LaPlante said.

LaPlante remembers as a girl seeing her mother can fruits and vegetables throughout summer.

“That was sort of lost in the recent 20 years or so. A lot of people quit doing it,” she said.

Once the greenhouse initiative program gets up and running, LaPlante said, there’s a possibility the MMF could put on canning and preserving workshops. There’s also an initiative in the works to possibly supply gardening boxes to elders who have trouble kneeling down to work in a garden.

“We’ve got lots of different ideas,” LaPlante said.

The Sun asked the MMF where the greenhouses will be built but didn’t receive a reply by press time.

  Miranda Leybourne us a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the

BRANDON SUN. The LJI program is federally funded.

 

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