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February 13, 2012



Manitoba Farm Mentorship and Harvest Moon Society Unite for Farmer Training


Winnipeg - New farmers in Manitoba will have a larger selection of training opportunities available to them after the Growing Local Conference in Winnipeg later this month. Manitoba Farm Mentorship (MFM), which has been under the guidance of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba, has announced that it will join forces with the education wing of the Harvest Moon Society (HMS) based in Clearwater.  The two will amalgamate under the Prairieculture banner within the Harvest Moon Society to provide training and mentorship opportunities to new and existing farmers looking for knowledge about organic and environmentally sound farming practices.


Manitoba Farm Mentorship was developed in 2008 with the goal to increase the number of organic and ecologically stable farms operating in Manitoba.  Since then, the program has affected hundreds of new and experienced farmers in the province through farm tours, workshops, networking opportunities, and its flagship Exploring Your Small Farm Dream course.


The Harvest Moon Society, formed in 2001, has undertaken since its beginning to extend the knowledge of existing farmers in the Clearwater area at its yearly festival in September.  Since 2007, the society has actively been educating folks throughout the year with programs around permaculture design, forest gardening, pastured livestock enterprises, as well as teaching some organic gardening, vermiculture and leadership skills in area schools.


This merging of programming is an exciting advancement for training in Manitoba, as MFM workshops, courses and a number of mentor farmers are based in or near Winnipeg, and the HMS has been focused more rurally.  The new Prairieculture program will offer more extensive, province-wide programming to new, young, and transitioning farmers.  And, members of both organizations have committed to continue to create new workshops, courses and other learning opportunities. “We're incredibly excited to welcome MFM into our organization and especially to draw from the passion, expertise and energy of the staff and steering committee behind their diverse programming,” says Harvest Moon Coordinator Colin Anderson.

“Our two groups each have a lot to bring to the partnership, and can benefit from the other’s strengths and knowledge,” agrees Sharon Taylor, Coordinator of the Manitoba Farm Mentorship program.  “The agricultural expertise within the Harvest Moon Society, the marketing opportunities offered through their Local Foods Initiative, and the widespread network the group has developed make this partnership a natural step that will broaden the supports available to new and transitioning farmers in Manitoba.”


The executive committee of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba has also given their support to this merger.  Reflecting on the partnership, Janine Gibson, Chair of the Organic Food Council of Manitoba says, “The Organic Food Council has been proud to respond to the need for a farm mentorship program in Manitoba and has welcomed support from those who share this concern. The Executive Committee of OFCM will always be here to help this important program in whatever way we can, as we deepen our partnership work with the Harvest Moon Society.”


The partnership will be officially launched on Friday, February 24th, beginning at 7:00pm in the atrium of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex of the University of Winnipeg, 599 Portage Ave.  It will be an evening of celebration with young local talents Mika Cavers, Micah Erenberg, and DJ Lotek providing entertainment. Local farms and businesses including Half Pints Brewery, Rigby Orchard, Harvest Moon Local Foods Initiative, Harborside Farms and the Tier One winners of the Localvore Iron Chef Cook-Off have generously contributed to the event with drinks and the fixings for a late evening snack. Elements Restaurant, located in Richardson College also features local food and is offering dinner discounts to Growing Local conference attendees prior to the event.


Farmers and aspiring farmers, foodies, and anyone interested in knowing more about the local food scene are invited to attend the party. For more information, contact Manitoba Farm Mentorship at 772-3790.





Media Contact:

Sharon Taylor

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Thank you Marnie and team for your continuing support of organics in MB. Thank you for your recent gift to Dr. Marten Entz & the Natural Systems Agriculture program, celebrating 25 years of organic research in Manitoba!

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