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Southern Alberta farmers harvest to fight hunger

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Taking a bite out of world hunger. Southern Alberta farmers took to the field for the Taber Foodgrains Project, and as Erik Bay explains, this year’s event is a milestone moment – Aug 31, 2021

Farmers from around the region brought trucks, tractors and combines for the Taber Foodgrains harvest, wrapping up this year’s project.

Tuesday might have been the big finale, but committee chair Jeremy Wind says the work has been going on all summer.

“From seeding to spring to all that, we’ve had local volunteers – farmers, businesses – donate equipment and inputs to grow this crop,” Wind said.

“Then here in the fall we come together to harvest it all at once.”

Read more: Taber Cornfest 2021 kicks off with minimal restrictions after excellent growing season

The harvested grain will be sold and the profits will go overseas to help fight world hunger.

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Ary Vreeken has worked with farmers in Africa and says the efforts in southern Alberta go a long way to improving food security in other countries.

“The amount of support that I see here for other small farmers and their families overseas, I just don’t have any words for it,” Vreeken said.

“Today they’re showing up for their neighbour who lives a continent away.”

“Considering it’s the middle of harvest, we have about fifteen farms represented coming out to help. It’s heartwarming,” Wind said.

Vreeken adds harvesting in Africa doesn’t compare to what is possible in North America.

“When I see these combines, all that hardware, in the back of my mind I see a guy named Jibo, who just reaches out and cuts one head of grain at a time. Then he bundles it and puts a bundle on his head and walks to his granary,” Vreeken said.

“I have a picture of their harvest and there’s three bundles around them.”

“If (their) crop fails, there comes a time in the year where you’re going to have to say there’s no food tonight,” Vreeken said.

“To see people show up and actually help out in a very practical, hands on way… it reinforces the sense of community.”

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The committee does expect this year’s harvest to be smaller due to drought, but Wind says that doesn’t take away from marking the 25th year of the Taber Foodgrains Project, especially after covid-19 forced a scaled-down harvest last year.

Read more: Severe drought in Alberta brings on early harvest

“We were very limited in how we did this, just the operators. This year we’re back to celebrating it and coming together as a community.”

The Taber project has raised roughly 10 million dollars since it began in 1997.

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