Posted on Mar 25, 2022

The North Bay and Nipissing Rotary clubs, along with the Rotaract Club of North Bay-Nipissing, delivered 11,500 pounds of PEI potatoes on Friday to 23 organizations involved with providing food programs in North Bay, Sturgeon Falls, Temagami, South River, Burk’s Falls, and the surrounding area.

This initiative has been undertaken in partnership with Prince Edward Island potato farmers, the Government of Canada, Second Harvest Canada, Manitoulin Transport, and the Nipissing District Social Services Administrative Board.

The potatoes came from Prince Edward Island, where a surplus of the island’s signature crop has piled up after export to the US was cancelled this year. Routine testing in the fall of 2021, uncovered some potato wart in two crops causing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to suspend the export of seed potatoes to the US. Later the suspension was extended to table and processing potatoes. However, most potatoes are free from the fungus, which is not harmful to humans. 

About 10 per cent of the 2021 crop of potatoes from PEI (300 million pounds) will be destroyed. Farmers are being given government funding amounting to about 8.5 cents per pound for the potatoes that are destroyed. 

In response, the Government of Canada is funding a program to have 290 million pounds of the surplus, safe potatoes, diverted to processors, packers, dehydrators, food banks and other markets.

Upon learning what the PEI farmers were dealing with, local Rotarian Don Coutts and project coordinator, investigated how Rotary could get involved and become part of the solution – both here and across our Rotary district of over 40 clubs and 1,400 members.

“To date, Rotary’s involvement will see approximately 220,000 pounds of potatoes and counting being successfully delivered to those in need in numerous communities from Peterborough, Lindsay, Barrie, and Collingwood in the south, west to Blind River, and as far north as Kapuskasing”, stated Don Coutts.

North Bay Food Bank
Powassan Food Bank
Nipissing First Nation Food Bank
South River Food Bank
Pro Cathedral Catholic Church Food Bank
St. Andrew’s United Church
Temagami Food Bank
West Nipissing (Sturgeon Falls) Food Bank