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Unique wheat harvest benefits Manitoba food banks

Unique wheat harvest benefits Manitoba food banks

Rick Rutherford harvested wheat off his lawn

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Rick Rutherford farms on more than 3,500 acres in Manitoba’s Rural Municipality of Rosser.

But it’s a small wheat crop of his that’s receiving attention.

Last week, Rutherford harvested a small plot of red spring wheat he planted on the lawn of a Wellington Crescent property he owns in Winnipeg.

The idea came to him this year while doing lawn maintenance.

“I wanted to showcase modern agriculture,” he told “I wanted to show people that yes, we do use fertilizer, or no, we’re not organic. I wasn’t looking to make excuses for agriculture.”

Throughout the growing season, Rutherford used the wheat plot to talk to people in the community about agriculture.

“I’d be out there weeding the grass and people would want to stand at the curb and chat with me about wheat and farming,” Rutherford said. “Some of the people in the area are disconnected to agriculture and don’t see wheat that often.”

Rutherford pitched the idea to friends of his, who not only supported it, but encouraged him to use the harvest to support the community.

On Sept. 9, using a plot harvester, Rutherford harvested the plot and through a gala event, raised more than $20,000 for Harvest Manitoba food banks.

Local ag companies set up displays in the property’s garage and members of the community were invited to visit with them and watch the “Harvest on the Crescent.”

Those that brought a non-perishable food item received one of 80 donated loaves of bread.

And a local distillery volunteered to make a barrel of whiskey using the wheat crop.

Bottle one of that barrel was auctioned during the event for about $10,000.

“The provincial ag minister (Ralph Eichler) was an auctioneer in his past life, so he actually came out and auctioned the bottle off,” Rutherford said. “The local farm community came together to support a great cause, in a year where there’s drought and some farmers are struggling. These people came out and opened their wallets, so I want them to know how appreciative I am for that support.”

Plans are already in place to repeat the event next year with a canola plot, Rutherford said.

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