b'Although the giveaway in Portage has continued despite the pandemic, Peters acknowledges COVID-19 has forced changes to the way the event is organized. In the past, people could visit the corner lot in downtown Portage where the giveaway is held and grab whatever they could carry with them. The past two years the spuds were emptied onto a giant conveyor and groups of six socially distanced individuals could grab however much they wanted before making way for the next group of six. We had volunteers who really helped make things work. It was just fantastic. It worked so well, he says.One thing that remained the same this year was the reaction of people whoVolunteers help hand out potatoes in Portage la Prairie, Man. as part of Spruce Drive Farms showed up to grab some of the tasty tubers. annual potato giveaway.PHOTO: SPRUCE DRIVE FARMSThey were just very grateful and very thankful, Peters says.We see all kinds of people and age groups each year. Theres single people, families, First Nations, seniors. What we tell people is come and help yourself. You can take enough for supper or enough for the winter, theres no strings attached. Ironically, all of the good that has come out of the Portage giveaway was originally born out of misfortune. In 2016, Peters rented a 30-acre field about seven miles away from his family farm to grow some additional potatoes. Unfortunately, those plants became unsalable for seed as a result of an accidental glyphosate spray drift.Rather than rip the plants out or plow them under, Peters and his family decided to make the best of the situation and harvested a couple acres of the crop to donate to members of the community instead.It really bothered me at the time. I dont like waste and most farmers dont, he recalls. We want to reflect and live out our faith on our farm. We decided it was an opportunity to do something about it and possibly redeem the situation. We realized there was a need here in Portage and decided that as a farm maybe this was something we could do every year.Sharing the Good TimesIts a similar story at family-owned Fer-Mar Farm, located just outside the village of Lafontaine, Ont. Brothers Henri and Thomas Maurice along with sons, Cim,A truck used on Fer-Mar Farm in Lafontaine, Ont.PHOTO: FER-MAR FARM18SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022'