March this year sees International Women's Day on the 8th, and the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce is working together to put on a Women in Ag Market to coincide with that theme.

Executive director Stefanie Dunn says the Grassroots Women in Agriculture Market is a partnership that came out of a collaboration between a several groups here in the city including the Chamber, the Food Development Centre, Shur-Gro, United Way, PCRC, Portage Local Immigration Partnership, and a few others.

"We've been lucky enough to secure Simplot as the title sponsor, so it's basically going to be your essential market structure. All the vendors have a table or a booth. They'll have items for sale items for sampling, but this one's a little bit different."

She notes the mission behind it is supporting women in grassroots agriculture products and development. Dunn says this is very specific. 

"We wanted to be certain that we were highlighting; A) females and B) those women who either make something from an agricultural product, or have a grassroots product, and they are the driving force of that business," continues Dunn. "We've had a really good turnout of vendors, so far. They haven't quite been confirmed. We're sending that out and we're looking forward to a really fun event." 

Dunn gives an outline of what sort of items will be showcased.

"We have everything from gluten-free perogies to a woman who actually sources her own yarn from right here in Manitoba, dyes it, and then, of course, does the knitting of interesting wool creations," adds Dunn. "We have Happy Dance Hummus coming out. We have Ark + Arrow Candle Co, which is local here. There's going to be such a huge variety because, as specific as this market is, that's actually quite a broad definition when you think about it." 

She notes it's a great kickoff to spring break on Saturday, March 23 from 11:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. and it's going to be on the island in the MNP building. There will be plenty of room for people to visit and walk around the displays, try some samples, and walk away with a handful of goodies. 

She shares the importance of an event like this.

"In March, we're celebrating International Women's Day, which is on March 8," continues Dunn. "It's a very important day as women continue to break down barriers and demand equality in what has sort of been a man's world up until the last few years. We're really making breakthroughs there and we've also had a lot of newcomers to our region, whether they're refugees, immigrants, or just people joining existing family here. That's important, too, for us to welcome all women from any cultural background, to apply to be a vendor, to share not only their culture and their product, but their entrepreneurial spirit."

Dunn explains it's a networking opportunity and they're looking to lift women up.