Here and Back Again: Communities Helping One Another

By Diana Peters, MCS staff member, as told by Donna Lunn, Harvest Bowl Program Manager

Every year, Elgin County has an influx of Temporary Foreign Workers from a variety of places, including St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to assist local farmers in the planting, nurturing, and harvesting of crops. These Workers are a much-needed boon to an area that has much work and yet not enough local workers to fulfill the need. 

It is with the help of the Temporary Foreign Workers that our local community and area is able to enjoy an abundance of local fresh fruits and vegetables for a good portion of the year, as well as contribute to the general food production in Ontario. 

Caribbean pumpkins, donated to Harvest Bowl by Howe's Family Farm.
Caribbean pumpkins, donated to Harvest Bowl by Howe Family Farms.

Organizations, such as Harvest Bowl*, also benefit, as some of the extra harvest is donated and dehydrated in order to make packages of delicious and nutritious soup. These packages are distributed to places such as the Aylmer Corner Cupboard, and other food banks, for those in our community who are in need. 

Caribbean pumpkin from Howe's Family Farm in the Harvest Bowl dehydrator, diced by Harvest Bowl volunteers.
Caribbean pumpkin from Howe Family Farms in the Harvest Bowl dehydrator, diced by Harvest Bowl volunteers.

This past spring, a volcano eruption brought devastation to many people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. When our local Howe Family Farms heard of the hardships that the people of St. Vincent were experiencing, including some of their own past farm workers, they decided to take action. They began a collection for essential items, such as dried goods and toiletries, to send to the most in need regions of St. Vincent. The goal was to collect enough for one shipping bin. 

Through the generosity of the community, enough was collected to fill not one but TWO shipping bins! Along with the donations from the community, Harvest Bowl also was able to give back to these workers and their communities by contributing 80 pounds of dried vegetables! Isn’t that amazing? 

 Packages of Harvest Bowl Squash & Potato Soup
Packages of Harvest Bowl Squash & Potato Soup.

When we needed help, they came. And when they needed help, we sent from the abundance that they had helped us produce. 

*Harvest Bowl is a project started by MCS that continues to grow with the goal of becoming completely independent and self-sustaining. Harvest Bowl’s mission is to provide a gleaning service with further processing of vegetables to create packages of dry soup mix for distribution county-wide for those in need.

Learn more about Harvest Bowl on their website,

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