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Farm-fresh spuds head to P.E.I. food bank from Agriculture and AgriFood Canada

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The farm crew at Agriculture and AgriFood Canada’s Harrington analysis farm is donating contemporary potatoes to the Higher Room Meals Financial institution this winter in a brand new initiative to carry a surplus harvest to the group. 

“When the pandemic hit, meals safety turned an important subject throughout the nation,” stated Chris Kirby, appearing affiliate director for analysis improvement know-how switch on the Charlottetown Analysis and Growth Heart when he met with SaltWire Community March 13.

“One in every of my colleagues (began) an initiative as a result of loads of farms, together with ours, have extra commodities. Within the case right here, potatoes in Prince Edward Island, which on the whole go to disposal, culls or to compost, however they had been nonetheless wonderful to eat for public consumption.”

Many Agriculture and Agrifood Canada analysis services throughout the nation develop typical crops to echo present practices.

Up until now, although, the meals produced, resembling cabbages, carrots, apples – and in P.E.I., potatoes – have been getting composted as a result of a coverage stopping federally-run analysis farms from competing with native farmers. It meant there was no straightforward technique to launch the excess spuds into the group.

Field operator John Cummiskey, left, hands a bag of fresh potatoes to Chris Kirby, acting associate director for research development technology transfer at the Charlottetown Research and Development Center. - Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Network
Subject operator John Cummiskey, left, palms a bag of contemporary potatoes to Chris Kirby, appearing affiliate director for analysis improvement know-how switch on the Charlottetown Analysis and Growth Heart. – Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Community

So, Kirby’s counterpart in St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Leanne Wilson, took the required steps and now the affiliate administrators in any respect the analysis farms throughout the nation can now donate further meals to their native meals banks. 

“Something that’s research-grade, we can’t use,” stated Kirby. “ So every thing that we give can be one thing that … you’d choose up on the grocery retailer in the identical Prince Edward Island bag of potatoes that you’d get.”

Serving the group

The farm crew at Harrington is chargeable for the crops all through the season and have harvested, graded and saved the near 10,000 kilos of potatoes heading to the meals financial institution. 

“It’s good to see them utilized and nevertheless we will try this, nevertheless, we will allow the general public to entry them, I feel is successful as the choice is simply disposing of them by different means, compost or culling them,” stated Jared Wright, farm operations supervisor at Harrington. “So, if we may help individuals out locally, that is incredible. And in the end, that is what we’re right here to do.”

The farm crew, at the Agriculture and AgriFood Canada research farm in Harrington, including John Cummiskey, saved over 10,000 pounds of fresh P.E.I. potatoes to give to P.E.I. food banks over the winter, if needed. - Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Network
The farm crew, on the Agriculture and AgriFood Canada analysis farm in Harrington, together with John Cummiskey, saved over 10,000 kilos of contemporary P.E.I. potatoes to provide to P.E.I. meals banks over the winter, if wanted. – Alison Jenkins/SaltWire Community

The necessity is there

P.E.I.’s Higher Room Meals Financial institution has seen a 20 per cent improve in customers this yr, stated govt director Mike MacDonald when SaltWire visited him on March 13. There have been 950 households accessing assist in one month this yr.  

“We have been very lucky all through the winter to get a number of donations of potatoes. It provides to what we’re capable of give out. We do get loads of canned merchandise and dry merchandise, but it surely’s definitely good when now we have, have produce and contemporary gadgets that we may give to our purchasers,” stated MacDonald. 

P.E.I.’s Upper Room Food Bank has seen a 20 per cent increase in users this year, said executive director Mike MacDonald. - Screengrab
P.E.I.’s Higher Room Meals Financial institution has seen a 20 per cent improve in customers this yr, stated govt director Mike MacDonald. – Screengrab

He stated the meals financial institution additionally will get donations of contemporary carrots, turnips tomatoes and apples generally and his purchasers admire any contemporary meals they obtain.

“The extra donations we get, clearly, the extra meals that we’re capable of give to people and, and, , contemporary nutritious meals is vital for everyone,” stated MacDonald. 

A pallet of potatoes was delivered March 13. Among the baggage will probably be cut up into smaller parts, whereas some will go to the soup kitchen. 

What’s in a spud?

The P.E.I. Potato Board website has the info: 

  • A medium potato has round 100 energy.
  • Potato served with skins on have 4 grams of dietary fibre. A skinless spud has two grams.
  • Potatoes are a supply of vitamin C and potassium with a medium potato containing 45 per cent of the day by day really helpful consumption of C and 18 per cent of potassium.
  • Potatoes have vital quantities of micro-nutrients like iron, niacin, folate, thiamin, and zinc.

Alison Jenkins is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. She might be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @ReporterAlison.

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