Saturday, January 26, 2013

Interview for the Dig In Challenge

For my latest article for the Projector I had the opportunity of asking Sagan Morrow, the coordinator for Dig In, a few questions about the up-coming Dig In Challenge beginning in February. Sagan gave wonderful answers and so much helpful information, but I wasn't able to include everything she said due to my 400 word limit. So instead I have decided to put the full interview here.
Look forward to the article about the Dig In Challenge in the next issue of the Projector.


1. Can you briefly explain what happens in the challenge?

The Dig In Challenge is a five-month local food initiative from Food Matters Manitoba to help promote healthy, local, sustainable, and fair foods across the province. Families from all over Manitoba sign up for the Dig In Challenge and make a personalized pledge, which could be anything from growing a garden and learning about preserving food to menu planning and cooking with local foods. The Dig In Challenge is free to sign up, and we'll be giving away prizes at our food skill workshops. Participants can also share recipes online at www.DigInManitoba.ca. The Dig In Challenge is a collaborative effort between Food Matters Manitoba and our partner organizations.

2. Why do you think it is important to have an event such as this?

We as a society have become detached from our food system and lack many of the basic food skills and food knowledge that we once had decades ago. The Dig In Challenge is an opportunity for families to connect with farmers, learn about how their food was grown, and learn new food skills and how to cook. This is especially important when we consider the health of our children, which is why we're partnering with schools and encouraging families with children to join the Dig In Challenge so that they can teach their children these food skills that they can carry on into adulthood.

3. What benefits do you think people can gain by signing up for the challenge?

DigInManitoba.ca and the Dig In Challenge are great free resources on where to buy local foods, how to connect with local organizations, share knowledge of food skills and getting back to the land, and learn about the importance of health, sustainability, and accessing nutritious foods.

4. What advice can you give to less-experienced registrants?

Have fun with this! The Dig In Challenge is all about challenging yourself and trying something new. The workshops are a good place to learn and meet others in the community, and we also have an online forum available where participants can share their successes and ask questions of more experienced participants.

5. What are you most excited for?

This year some of our participants from outside Winnipeg are facilitating workshops, which we didn't really have in last year's pilot project of the Dig In Challenge. We tentatively have workshops in Grand Rapids, Strathclair, Oakbank and Brandon and are open to having more workshops in other rural areas. This is such a good opportunity for many more people across the province to get involved in the Dig In Challenge, and it is also indicative of how there are experts everywhere. The Dig In Challenge is about tapping into resources everywhere and sharing knowledge and skills that you might already have with others.

6. What online sources would you recommend that can help participants?

At www.DigInManitoba.ca/challenge, participants can access the online forum, a FAQ page, a calendar of upcoming workshops and a list of our partner organizations. We also have lists of local grocery stores around the province to make eating healthy, local food easily accessible.

7. Anything else you would like to mention or talk about?

This year we are expanding the Dig In Challenge to make it more accessible for schools, faith groups, workplaces, and other community groups by having specific Dig In Challenge pages for each of them. You can access these at www.DigInManitoba.ca/challenge. This is a fun way to get your whole group involved. We are also offering several workshops to be facilitated right in your workplace, to help you get your coworkers excited and learning about good food too.

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