RRC donates thousands of pounds of produce to Winnipeg Harvest

By: Jenna McLeod

RRC donated 3000 lbs of produce this year./ submitted photo

This year over 3000 lbs of produce was grown in the garden at Red River College (RRC). Brady Barron, Manager of the Grounds department is in charge of RRC’s garden. Barron is only required to maintain the campuses grounds and a standard garden. Over the years Barron has been expanding the garden, giving the college opportunity to donate more food.

The produce grown in the garden consists of food that grows well in Manitoba climate. Such as carrots, potatoes, onions, beets.

RRC has been a part of Winnipeg Harvest’s Grow-A-Row since 2013. Grow-A-Row is an initiative that started 1986, it encourages people to grow produce to donate. Assiniboine Community College (ACC) and the RRC Students’ association food bank also receive produce from RRC’s garden.

“It gets them out of the office or classroom for the day, gives them experience gardening and hopefully sparks an interest to start their own gardens,” said Barron.

Most of the volunteers who tend the garden are RRC staff and students but this year a majority of students were from ACC. The ACC students who participated where a part of the baking classes. The baking students use the herbs and pumpkins grown in the garden. Barron mentioned students aren’t required to help out, but it’s good experience for students to see firsthand what’s involved in growing the produce they often use and normally purchase from a vendor.

The garden of tilled dirt after the harvest at Red River Colleges Notre Dame campus./JENNA MCLEOD

“I think the staff and students are surprised at the volume produced in such a small area,” said Barron, adding Winnipeg Harvest has been very supportive and grateful for the donation of over 3000 lbs of produce this year. They supplied all of the boxes and bags needed to pack the produce. Winnipeg Harvest has donated a large supply of seeds for next year.

“We see more and more interest arising with every year and look forward to doing it all again next year,” Barron said.

The amount of time that goes into the maintenance of the garden is hard to put a number on, but Barron said it takes two days to harvest and package the produce.  He also says it depends a lot on the weather. The most time-consuming factors are weeding and watering.