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Community garden crops up in St. Vital

The beginnings of the small garden outside of the St. Vital centennial arena. Erik Pindera/Global News

Volunteers converted long underused raised beds outside of the St. Vital centennial arena into a small community garden.

The fruits (and vegetables) of their labour will be distributed to nearby residents, said Jeanette Sivilay, coordinator of Winnipeg Food Council, a city council citizen advisory committee focused on local food security among other aims.

“A growing project like this has the opportunity to promote the ability that we have to feed ourselves — to grow food in an urban centre to provide ourselves with access to fresh food,” Sivilay said, flanked by food council chair Coun. Brian Mayes and volunteers who pitched in to renovate the beds and plant the seeds over the past two weeks.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Manitoba farmers taking one day at a time as planting season looms

“If you were here two weeks ago, the beds were all full of gravel as they had been for decades — that’s out, we’ve got the soil in, Jeanette took charge of the planting, thankfully I didn’t because I don’t know anything about gardening,” Mayes said.

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Food security is particularly important amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Sivilay said.

“We’re seeing disruptions to our food system — most recently we’ve seen issues with migrant rights, migrant labourers’ unsafe working conditions,” Sivilay said.

READ MORE: Mexico to hold off on sending temporary workers to Canada over coronavirus deaths

The meatpacking industry and its workers have been hard hit by the pandemic, while this week Mexico temporarily disallowed its citizens to travel to Canada after two migrant workers died of COVID-19.

“It’s so we can reassess with the federal authorities, provinces and farmers why this happened and if there is anything to correct,” Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez Camacho told the Canadian Press.

Meanwhile, the crops at the Meadowood Victory Garden — lettuce, spinach, beets, peas, Swiss chard, zucchini, cauliflower, parsley, basil, dill, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and beans — will go to the community nearby, including residents of an adjacent housing co-operative.
Click to play video: 'The impact of COVID-19 on the farm' The impact of COVID-19 on the farm
The impact of COVID-19 on the farm – May 20, 2020

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