Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

The horn of plenty overflows with the Bountiful Harvest event

Campaign sees engaged employees sharing garden surplus with students 

With garden harvests often producing more food than one family can handle, the Positive Campus Group in Moose Jaw aims to share the wealth of produce with students in need at their annual Bountiful Harvest event, taking place October 3, 2016.

"Many students are on a very tight budget," says Colleen Oshowy, RN Health Nurse at the Moose Jaw campus. "Often the first cut-backs in budgeting are in groceries."

Oshowy says the event originally grew out of a conversation some employees had a few years ago about their surplus of garden produce.

"Knowing there were Sask Polytech students already concerned about their budget, a small group of employees asked for donations from employees and promoted the event. At the scheduled date and time, pre-bagged, fresh produce was distributed, first come first serve, to over 70 students," says Oshowy.

The following year the event grew even larger and they were accepting donations from the local community. That's when the Positive Campus Group adopted the event and was able to provide a few dollars to purchase even more produce from a local Hutterite colony. From there, the campaign exploded, reaching more than 100 students.

"It outgrew the small number of people working in the group, so we had to enlist the help of food services and the Professional Cooking program students," says Oshowy. "Last year the Professional Cooking program used the event preparation as part of their program and prepared the vegetables in a variety of ways, packaged and presented them for distribution."

According to Oshowy, many Sask Polytech employees get involved as the event is a great way to help establish a foundation for student success.

"Employees see students' needs and are concerned...Sharing a bountiful harvest addresses both student and employees needs - a need for food and need to share food. Some employees that don't garden will donate money to help purchase more produce and cover expenses."

Looking ahead to this year's event, Oshowy says, it's guaranteed to bring a lot of people a lot of happiness.

"Many times during the event students will express amazement that the food is free and that employees care enough to donate," she says. "Also, the pride on the Professional Cooking students' faces as they distribute the food they prepared is great to see. It's truly a win/win event for everyone involved."

This is the first instalment in a series highlighting Saskatchewan Polytechnic employee engagement. Our goal is to be an employer of choice, to be a great place to work. We strive to have a vibrant, healthy and safe workplace where employees thrive. We want to attract the best and the brightest and, once they become a part of the community, they stay.