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Non-timber Forest Industry Can Offer a Bountiful Harvest To Those Who Know What to Look for: Wowchuk
Northern entrepreneurs who developed the new educational DVD Open Your Eyes will be congratulated for their insight and appreciation of traditional values by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) Minister Rosann Wowchuk at the official launch of the video tomorrow at the Community Hall in Barrows. The production promotes unique business opportunities available in rural and northern locations.“I congratulate all those involved with this excellent initiative which is based on traditional northern values and promotes exciting business opportunities that are very accessible to people in rural and northern communities,” said Wowchuk. “Business development specialists in Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives GO Centres are available to encourage and help existing, new and emerging entrepreneurs launch sustainable businesses like those featured in this program.”
The video features testimonials from a variety of northern entrepreneurs promoting their successes in non-timber forest industry businesses and inspiring others to follow their lead and become self‑employed.
The four-part DVD program covers topics including making products from wild plants, finding such plants, developing business opportunities, training and marketing. The concept was initiated by Brenda Gaudry who operates her business, Creative Spirit – Utilizing Natural Resources, in Barrows, located 600 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.
The project was funded with $20,400 from MAFRI’s Covering New Ground initiative and $4,000 each from the provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
“I was concerned that people were not seeing the opportunities that are right in front of them,” said Gaudry. “I believe there is great potential in the non-timber forest industry to create self-employment in many northern areas if people would just open their eyes to the opportunities around them.”
Gaudry noted many Aboriginal people were losing the knowledge traditionally passed from generation to generation. Health and healing benefits were traditionally derived from native plants and trees commonly found in Canada’s boreal forest, however, over time, much of that historical knowledge has been lost.
“This video presentation will be a valuable resource for residents of northern and rural communities especially Aboriginal youth, who can create a future for themselves identifying these raw materials and non-forest products, and using sustainable, traditional methods of harvesting,” said Wowchuk. “It will also be a very useful teaching tool for youth in 4-H and new harvesters throughout Manitoba and across Canada.”
The DVD will be available through MAFRI’s GO Offices and GO Centres.
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Backgrounder: Feature of Open Your Eyes
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