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Home Rural Roots Birch Hills farms harvest crop to support Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Birch Hills farms harvest crop to support Canadian Foodgrains Bank

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Birch Hills farms harvest crop to support Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Birch Hills and area farmers pose for a photo after successfully harvesting a crop as part of a Canadian Foodgrains Bank fundraiser on Sept. 28, 2022. -- Submitted photo.

More than a dozen farmers from the Birch Hills area were out harvesting crops to feed the world’s most vulnerable residents on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Fourteen farmers from the community and surrounding area harvested crops on a quarter section of land and donated the proceeds to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

Head grower Steve Tomtene said there are a lot of vulnerable people in the world, and this is one way local farmers help them out.

“We feel it’s important for us to do what we can to help support others in need,” he said. “The provisions that the federal government has offered to this organization are substantial and it’s important that we do what we can to leverage up this money, to have as big an impact as we can, to help other places that are struggling with poverty or famines or storms, etc.”

The federal government matches all donations made to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank for food assistance projects on a four-to-one basis, up to $25 million per year. Other donations are matched on a three-to-one basis.

The Birch Hills harvest is one of many held across Canada in support of the Foodgrains Bank. Tomtene said it’s encouraging to see so many local residents come out and help at a very busy time.

“It feels good that we’re not along doing this,” he said. “It’s nice to be part of a team of people who are wanting to accomplish the same goal.

“We get a lot of donations and contributions (of) labour, inputs, (and) equipment, to offset the costs of raising the grain,” he added. “Then the federal government matches the dollars.”

Tomtene first got involved with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank harvest 20 years ago after a neighbour, Grant Getz, travelled to Pakistan and came back with stories about people struggling to find enough food to eat.

Getz learned about the Foodgrains program, and convinced other local farmers like Tompene to help.

“(He) came home and wanted to initiate the project,” Tomtene remembered. “With his initiation and vision, we were invited to participate, and worked together with him ever since.”

Rick Block, the Saskatchewan representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, said it’s encouraging to have local farmers working to alleviate hunger in countries across the world.

“(It’s an) example of compassion in action,” he wrote in a Tweet.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank works to address hunger, starvation, and food insecurity in developing countries. It has more than 200 growing projects across Canada, which account for roughly half of all donations the bank receives.