Tricia Johnson of the Ottawa Food Bank (right), explains the operations process in the warehouse to the OIA meeting attendees. Al-Rajab photo
OTTAWA – The monthly meeting of Ottawa-St. Lawrence and Quinte Branches of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA) was held at the Ottawa Food Bank Warehouse on Thurs., March 28.
Two presentations marked the monthly meeting by Tricia Johnson of Ottawa Food Bank and Martin Savard of Algonquin College. Food Bank of Ottawa is the central food collection, storage, and distribution centre for a network of 114 emergency food programs across the city supporting 38,400 people every month.
A guided visit to the Ottawa Food Bank Warehouse was offered to the OIA members by Johnson, the major gifts and planned giving officer, who said that Ottawa Food Bank is concerned about providing healthy food to the vulnerable in our community. The community Harvest farm is located in Stittsville on eight donated acres, 17 types of crops were grown on five acres last year. 136,135 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were grown on the farm during last summer, in addition to the generous donations from local farmers; a total of 164,334 pounds of fresh produce went from farm to table. Johnson said that meat and protein distribution have increased by over 113,000 pounds since the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
Along with the staff, the volunteers participate actively in the operations of the warehouse, with transportation, receiving, sorting, labelling and packaging. Approximately 3,000 volunteers work with Ottawa Food Bank yearly and donate a total of 15,744 hours of their time. Further information about Ottawa Food Bank and its services can be found at the website: www.ottawafoodbank.ca.
Separately, Martin Savard, coordinator at Algonquin College, presented the new two-year business-agricultural diploma program at Perth campus, starting Sept. 2019. The program combines agriculture with business and management training and was designed following consultation with producers, employers and agricultural industry stakeholders. More information about the program can be found at: algonquincollege.com/perth/ba.