‘Still carrying on the vision’

Beth Downey Sawatzky |

The passions that inspired Winnipeg’s community shared agriculture (CSA) movement and the famous Tall Grass Prairie Bakery are now making waves around the world, from Winnipeg to Hokkaido, Japan, and back.

Ray Epp, one of Tall Grass’s five original co-founders, relocated his family to Hokkaido about 20 years ago to start an organic farm that would spread the influence of sustainable agriculture techniques and improve accessibility to just food systems for local growers and eaters. Epp’s produce has since overtaken the local Japanese market and his distinctive composting methods are making their way back to Manitoba.

Kenton Lobe, an instructor in international development at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg, means to implement them on the CMU Farm, a CSA initiative he co-founded in the wake of Epp’s pioneering work.

Tabitha Langel, another of Tall Grass’s first five who remains a local co-owner, lauds Epp for continuing the vision their cohort always shared: “It reminds me of what [the Apostle] Paul says: ‘somebody plants, somebody tends, somebody reaps.’ Ray was certainly a very special part of our group’s planting. When he came back to visit, we had many tears. He really hadn’t expected to find everybody here still carrying on the vision.”

See an earlier story on this venture: “Tall Grass from deep convictions.”

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