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Abbotsford author celebrates Mennonite Heritage Week

Week of Sept. 14-18 concludes with MCC Festival To-Go
Caran Jantzen is the author of the new book “Grow. Cook. Eat. Share. A Memoir.” The book recently won an award.

An Abbotsford author recently won an award for her book which pays tribute to her Mennonite Heritage.

Caran Jantzen, who released “Grow. Cook. Eat. Share. A Memoir” earlier this year, received a Word Award from The Word Guild.

“It’s an honour to have my writing recognized,” she says. “It’s also a tribute to the family and heritage that helped shape me into who I am today.”

The book digs deep into her Mennonite roots to live a homesteading lifestyle.

As a child, Jantzen recalls being enamoured by her grandparents’ stories of life on the land. Tales of the milk cow and potato patch, the outhouse and summer kitchen, and hog-harvesting day are etched in her mind.

Even now, as an adult, Jantzen is inspired by her grandparents’ tenacity.

“If their tomatoes got blight, there were no tomatoes to can for the year; they didn’t run to the store to buy some. If their apple trees didn’t set fruit, there were no apples in the root cellar.”

RELATED: Abbotsford author details homesteading experience

With the luxury of a grocery store to fall back on, Jantzen and her family, along with many hobby farmers and gardeners in the Fraser Valley, aim to produce as much food as possible on their small acreage.

For Jantzen, Mennonite Heritage Week (Sept. 14-18) feels personal.

“It’s my family’s history, their story,” she says. “My Mennonite ancestors came to Canada from Ukraine and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fleeing persecution and war.

“Mennonites are one of many people groups that have contributed to Canada’s history, beauty and diversity.”

Janzen’s book is available locally at House of James in Abbotsford and at The Happy Homesteader in Mission. It is also available on Amazon as a paperback and e-book, and can be downloaded for free during Mennonite Heritage Week.

Meanwhile, the annual MCC Festival for World Relief is taking place differently this year as the MCC Festival To-Go.

The public is invited to pre-order food – some Mennonite festival classics – online and then come to the MCC Centre (33933 Gladys Ave.) on Sunday, Sept. 20 to pick it up from the drive-thru line during their allotted time slot.

The festival also includes the annual MCC Cyclathon on Saturday, Sept. 19.

Participants can choose from three routes – 10 km, 20 km or 50 km – while raising money for the cause.

Also on Sept. 19, an outdoor plant sale runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the MCC Centre.

Visit to order food, register for the cyclathon or make a donation.

RELATED: MCC Festival To-Go raises money for food security in DR Congo

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