The NDC garden produced 4,270 lbs of veggies this year

By Becca Myskiw

Red River College set a record for its Grow-a-Row donation to Winnipeg Harvest this year.

The Red River College Students’ Association Food Bank works with Winnipeg Harvest throughout the year to supply students and their families with food. / RACHEL YOUNG

RRC’s groundskeepers at the Notre Dame Campus (NDC) intake on the task of growing the garden for the cause every year since 2013. This year, they were able to donate a total of 4,270 lbs of vegetables, including carrots, beets, onions, pumpkins and potatoes to Winnipeg Harvest.

Grow-A-Row encourages people to grow extra vegetables in any unused land they have and donate the produce to Winnipeg Harvest. The campaign started in 1986 by giving the vegetables to people who needed emergency food.

RRC’s resource reduction specialist Whitney Crooks said the vegetables that don’t go to Winnipeg Harvest are used at NDC in the cafeteria food. Crooks said baking students also use vegetables from the harvest.

Crooks said the reason RRC continues to donate to Grow-a-Row is to keep sustainability going in the school but also as a way to give back to the community.

“This is a great opportunity for the college to show all of the pillars of sustainability,” said Crooks.

The three pillars of sustainability are environmental, social and economic. Crooks said NDC has a preconsumer compost pile where they throw things like fruit scraps and coffee grounds. The compost is then used as fertilizer on the grounds.

When growing things, Crooks said the school only uses bio pesticides and environmentally friendly practices.

RRC donated 4,270 lbs of vegetables to Winnipeg Harvest, including potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and pumpkins.

“It’s a way for people to connect with the environment and make that connection,” she said.

Crooks said the garden harvest is usually a fun event the Sustainability staff puts on with snacks and music. Not as many people showed up to help this year due to unfortunate weather on harvest day, October 8. However, Crooks said they still had 15 people come out to get the product out of the ground. 

Since 2013, RRC has donated a total of over 17,370 lbs of produce including this year’s haul, with the amount donated increasing almost every year.

RRC donated 3,000 lbs of produce in October 2018.

RRC’s groundskeepers weren’t available for comment on the new Grow-a-Row donation record, but Crooks said all of the credit goes to them.

“The garden isn’t getting any bigger,” she said. “They’re just really dedicated to this.”

To learn more about how RRC’s sustainability efforts, visit