Farmers partner with donors to help feed the hungry of our world
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Saskatoon Catholic News
Michelle and Brian Hergott, who farm near Bruno, SK, east of Saskatoon, will be participating in Grow Hope Saskatchewan this year, donating use of their land, labour and equipment to help address hunger around the world in a partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
“We decided to participate in Grow Hope because we belong to a global community,” say the Hergotts.
Grow Hope offers an opportunity for ordinary people to participate in growing crops that will be seeded, tended and harvested by farmers like the Hergotts, before being sold with proceeds going to Canadian Foodgrains Bank to feed the hungry.
Grow Hope Saskatchewan involves an ecumenical partnership between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon and the Mennonite Central Committee in Saskatchewan who are working together to support the work of Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The first year of Grow Hope Saskatchewan was a resounding success, says Myron Rogal of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon Office of Justice and Peace.
The 2018 Grow Hope Saskatchewan donations totalled some $110,000 — which grew to $550,000 in food assistance thanks to 4:1 matching funds from the Government of Canada, he reported.
Article about Grow Hope on the MCC website: Spinning straw into gold
“This year generous farmers in the Saskatoon area have again donated land and agreed to grow the crop,” said Rogal, before describing the process whereby non-farmers can participate in the growing process through their donations. “It costs on average $300 per acre to grow the crop – covering the cost of things like seed, fuel and other inputs. At the end of the growing season, the farmers will sell the crop and donate the proceeds to the Foodgrains Bank,” Rogal explained. “They expect to sell it for an average of $500 per acre. The Government of Canada matches donations up to 4:1, which maximizes donor impact.”
For donors, it is a chance to “become a farmer” and help to feed the hungry.
“Grow Hope Saskatchewan is about connecting urban and rural,” said Rogal. “And it is about a basic passion and need that we all have, which is food.”
At a diocesan Administration Day in 2018, Rick Block of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank described the history and mission of the organization, which strives to be a Christian response to hunger. At one time, the Foodgrains Bank actually collected and shipped donated Canadian grain to places of need – but now participating farmers grow the grain and sell it, donating funds. That financial support is used to implement programs, provide emergency food relief and undertake long-term work to build food security, said Block.
To participate in Grow Hope Saskatchewan by sponsoring a partial acre, a full acre ($300) or more, donate online at Diocese of Saskatoon Catholic Foundation or for more information contact Myron Rogal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (306) 659-5841.
You can also follow the momentum of Grow Hope Saskatchewan on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrowHopeSK