On August 28, small farm and business owners Clint and Pam Cavers of Harbourside Farm in Pilot Mound, Manitoba had nearly $8000 worth of meat product confiscated by MAFRI (Manitoba Food and Rural Initiatives) inspectors. The Cavers have been raising beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and duck for nearly 15 years and recently started producing cured and aged meats. In fact, they were doing so well with their Pastured Pork Prosciutto that they won the Great Manitoba Food Fight hosted by MAFRI and Assiniboine Community College earlier this year.
Customers and friends of the Cavers have gotten together to support them through this challenging time; and to address the many regulatory barriers that family farmers are facing when trying to sell good, clean, healthy food directly to eaters. The hope is that interested Manitobans can work together to start a dialogue and create a better set of regulations for local, artisanal producers in Manitoba and across Canada.
Visit www.realmanitobafoodfight.ca to find out more details and to stay informed. Feel free to share with your supporters and help build awareness and support for this important issue.
* Pause to give thanks for the hard working, creative folks (like the Cavers and others in your own area) who are passionate about providing their neighbours with the best food they and their farms can provide.
* If you know your MLA (if in Manitoba) or your MP, then write or call them to express your support for the Cavers and for local food farmers in general – requesting immediate action to resolve the situation.
* Consider the two main immediate requests they are promoting:
A. That the food that was seized from the Cavers be returned immediately which represented ~$8,000 of product and over three years of research and development
B. That MAFRI immediately meet first with the Cavers and then with local food farmers to discuss how government programs and regulations can better support local food farmers and processors. If you have other suggestions for improving the relationship between smaller scale food innovators and regulators, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.