Statements by Members, 19 November 2015
Full transcript available here.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to pay tribute to the PEI Food Exchange, a grassroots group committed to increasing food security on Prince Edward Island through gleaning, through growing food, and through education.

In 2013 the Report on Household Food Security in Canada concluded that PEI had the second-highest rate of food insecurity amongst children in Canada, second only to Nunavut, and that the severity of food insecurity on PEI is actually rising. This was the impetus for a small group of committed people to come together and to take action.

One initiative of the PEI Food Exchange is to collect unsold produce from the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market which is then delivered to families who cannot otherwise afford healthy food. The PEI Food Exchange also hosts food and garden skills workshops to encourage people to grow some of their own food and to share knowledge about preparing and preserving locally available produce.

The main initiative of the food exchange is gleaning, a renewal of an ancient tradition of harvesting non-commercial crops from local farms. In 2015, 200 gleaners harvested 10,000 pounds of produce. The people who help with the harvest can keep up to one-third of the harvest, one-third goes to the farmer, and the last third is delivered to service agencies such as Salvation Army and The Upper Room. This is a dignified way for people to secure some of their own food while helping others.

This small group is building community, reducing waste, providing meaningful work, improving diets, aiding farmers, reducing food insecurity, and supporting volunteer agencies across Prince Edward Island. That’s an extraordinary variety of positive outcomes from one small initiative.

I salute, in particular, Pauline Howard and Cindy Richards for their dedicated work to this initiative, and we can all support their work by attending the second annual Step Up to the Plate dinner on December 3rd at the Farm Centre.

Members and people with us today, I’d just like you to recognize that Pauline is with us in the gallery today in the far corner. Thank you, Pauline.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

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