A special harvest took place south of Edmonton last week, with community members coming together in an effort to end world hunger.
Every year in Leduc County, a group of farmers, retailers and community members come together to plant, maintain and harvest a field. Everything needed — from the land and equipment to the time and the fertilizer — is donated by local farmers and community members.
Once harvested, 100 per cent of the proceeds raised from selling the crop is donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of Canadian churches and church-based agencies working together to end global hunger.
“There will be tens of thousands of dollars raised from this field alone just because all the inputs are donated,” said Colin Boender, a local farmer and volunteer with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“This money will go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which can be matched up to four-to-one by the Canadian government and it gets used in foreign aid projects around the world.”
Boender was in India last winter to see firsthand where their donations are making a difference. He said the focus is on agriculture education programs aimed at improving food security.
“I didn’t realize so many people around the world were subsistence farmers who were living off what they grew and barely living off what they grew,” he said. “So the little bit of work that we do here together to come up with a lot of money and that money is used on these programs… they go so far. It’s not just giving food to people, it’s these agricultural education programs, so these people are getting better and better and better at what they do in providing for themselves.
“There’s so many spinoff benefits. We saw kids that were getting a better education, healthy moms, healthy babies — when people have access to good-quality, high-nutritious food, it goes so far.”
Peter Brouer has donated the land in Leduc County for the past three years. He knew of the work done by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and said when he and his wife decided they no longer wanted to farm the land themselves, donating it to the organization seemed like a no-brainer.
“The way they help all over the world, we felt this is a good project we can participate in,” Brouer said Thursday as this year’s harvest was completed.
“I always thought of it as a good project that was worthwhile supporting. So we’re just happy that we can support it… As long as they are interested, we are willing to help them out.”
Cam Klapstein is a volunteer farmer who has been a part of the organizing committee since the Leduc County group got its start more than 22 years ago.
He said volunteers come from as far as Calmar, Nisku, Wetaskiwin, Hay Lakes and everywhere in between, to lend a helping hand.
“We live in a blessed country and I’ve travelled around and seen people that have nothing,” Klapstein said. “And you know what, it’s on me and everybody in society to give back. And this is my way, as a farmer, of giving back.
“I’m so grateful for the community that we live in, for people that are willing to come and just contribute and give back. When community steps forward, it’s always a good thing.”
Thursday’s harvest was the 22nd annual for the group.