MWI focuses on food literacy

Press Release

Food literacy is defined as a set of skills and attributes that help people sustain the daily preparation of healthy, tasty, affordable meals for themselves and their families. Most, if not all, members of Manitoba Women’s Institute (MWI) are intuitively food literate. The majority of us garden, preserve and prepare healthy affordable meals. For us, it is hard to believe that these skills are being forgotten and perhaps, in younger families, never learned.

In our current food environment where processed convenience foods are readily available, expensive and often unhealthy, becoming food literate is an essential life skill that is needed to enhance health. Despite healthy lifestyle trends, there is a growing concern about lack of time, knowledge and skills to prepare healthy, affordable meals at home.

Home cooking began to decline in the mid-sixties as more women sought employment outside the home. As rates of home cooking decreased, rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease increased. Childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last 25 years as a result of lack of education about healthy eating habits, food skills, where food comes from and active living. Processed food, prepared entrees and fast food restaurants have increased consumption of fat, sugar and sodium. A Community Health Study showed that the average Canadian consumes twice the daily-recommended amount of sodium. Key challenges to food security are geographic food access, economic food access, food skills and training.

Food skills and training: Learning how to cook food and read nutrition labels has an impact on individuals through both health and economic benefits. Many families claim they don’t have time to prepare meals from scratch, others complain food is too expensive. A well-stocked pantry and a few easy recipes are invaluable in the quick preparation of healthy, budget-friendly meals from scratch.

MWI’s Food Literacy Program will focus on: how to get away from fast food and processed foods; how to prepare and preserve foods; knowledge of where food comes from in its raw state; knowledge of availability of local produce.

MWI is well organized, rich in knowledge and experience, and uniquely placed to engage our communities and transfer knowledge to special populations such as students, newcomers and people with life changes (i.e. loss of partner, disability). The purpose of this Food Literacy Program isn’t to educate our members but to encourage them to look for opportunities in their communities to share their food knowledge and experience. Each local or individual can identify a group(s) that would benefit from a Food Literacy program. 

If you have any comments or suggestions that you would like MWI to address, please contact one of the Food Literacy Committee members: Debbie Melosky, 204-427-2036; Shelagh Polischuk, 204-261-5582; Linda Wilson, 204-764-2642.

Summer road re-cap

By David Portelance

      Media Relations Officer

Summer has come to an end in our province and even though it appeared to go by quickly, RCMP officers were kept very busy ensuring the safety on Manitoba roads.

From Victoria Day long weekend to Labour Day long weekend (May 16-Sept. 1), Manitoba RCMP issued approximately 10,000 tickets for provincial traffic charges. Roughly 6,300 of those tickets were issued for speeding offences alone, while several were issued for driving 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit. RCMP also charged 489 individuals with Criminal Code impaired driving-related charges and issued an additional 263 alcohol and drug-related administrative suspensions, which vary in length from 24 hours for a first offence to 15-60 days for those with multiple offences.

Unfortunately, during that time frame, RCMP responded to 28 fatal motor vehicle collisions which resulted in 30 deaths. Although those numbers are down from the same period of time in 2013, (43 fatal motor vehicle collisions and 51 deaths), there is always room for improvement.

RCMP is challenging the public for the fall season to experiment: drive within the speed limit, buckle-up, drive sober and be aware of your surroundings while behind the wheel.

Results: Arrive alive and save money!

Home care — living with independence in your home

By Monica Truffyn

      Communications Coordinator

The MacKalskis have lived in their home for 40 years but when Bob became ill last year and ended up in the hospital, he didn’t know if he would ever be able to return. But with the help of home care and his wife Marlene, Bob is living comfortably in his home.  

Read more: Home care — living with independence in your home

Bullying — everyone’s responsibility

By Mary Hall 


Students throughout the province headed back to school with anticipation – excited to meet their new teachers and re-connect with friends. For most young people this was a positive experience; unfortunately for others, feelings of anxiety and fear as a result of bullying re-emerged. It is timely to gain a better understanding of this problem and share strategies to prevent it. Measures already in place include Manitoba’s Safe Schools Legislation and Bullying Prevention Action Plan, as well as numerous policies, programs and resources. The prevention of bullying requires a continued, concerted effort by government, schools, homes and the broader community. 

Read more: Bullying — everyone’s responsibility

Weather affects park entrants

By Jessie Bell

Due to excessive rainfall, activities varied at the nearby provincial park during the May 9-Sept. 7 season. Due to the rising water in Lake Wahtopanah, the lower camping sites were closed during part of July; however, kids loved running through three to four inches of water along the flooded sandy beach. District park supervisor James Lockie reported the park was full again in August, with skaters from the hockey school in Rivers. 

A number of improvements have been made or are scheduled for Rivers Provincial Park. Workers at the park created a drive-through site where two small sites were made into a large one, and some others are being lengthened to accommodate bigger recreation vehicles. Plans also include the extension of water services and electricity to the older sites.

A total of 30 bright-blue recycling bins were placed throughout the campground. A new concrete slab was poured at the boat launch and plans are underway for construction of a nearby fish-cleaning shack. In an attempt to discourage ATV operators from using the gravel pits, the park was fenced to include the pits. Lockie also noted the rapid growth of shrubs which had been planted between lots in the newer development at the start of the 2011 season.