Feeding people in need, one acre at a time

By Michael LeBlanc, Animator for Saskatchewan and Keewatin-Le Pas

Our animator for Saskatchewan and Keewatin-Le Pas reports on a long-running initiative through which generous Canadian farmers use the fruits of their toil to stave off hunger half a world away.

What a blessing it is to see all the good things the Lord grows for us in this great big garden that we call the Earth!

This spirit of gratitude was on display on Sunday, August 13, in Bruno, Saskatchewan. A local farming family has pledged acres of their harvest to help feed people in areas of the world facing extreme hunger due to droughts, natural disasters, displacement and conflict. Their noble contribution involves the sale of their crop, in this case barley, to provide emergency food rations and long-term food security assistance through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

This process is called a growing project. One of the many beneficiaries of such donations is Trócaire, a Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada partner that provides lifesaving care to malnourished children and their families in Somalia. This work, recently featured on the CBC, was also reported on by our programs officer Dominique Godbout, who visited Somalia last May. Barley from Saskatchewan is thus helping feed people half a world away!

 As I took in the beautiful and seemingly endless fields of gold, it was thrilling to think of the nourishment this crop would soon provide. Just as seeds had been transformed into a field of grain over the course of a summer, so will the money raised soon be transformed into nourishment for those in need. As part of a fundraiser called Grow Hope Saskatchewan, this local farming family, together with five others like them, have collectively pledged to grow 421 acres of crops for donation this year.

Staff and volunteers from the five development agencies that make up Grow Hope Saskatchewan decided to host an information table at Bruno’s annual Cherry Sunday festival to meet the local community and share the good news about this life-saving initiative. Festival attendees could learn about this unique growing project and how it was founded in 2018 by different Christian development agencies to engage Saskatchewan people in the fight against hunger.

Festival attendees could also visit the field and meet the project farmer to “hear it from the horse’s mouth.” Generosity came not just from passersby who made donations at the information table, but also from the openness those who simply stopped by to “Come and see” (John 1:39).

The 15 Canadian Christian relief and development organizations, including Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada, that constitute the Canadian Foodgrains Bank show solidarity with one another and with local partners around the world. Every day, lives are saved and doors are opened to a future without hunger or food insecurity.

That Cherry Sunday in Bruno was a day filled with much fun and community. A lucky winner took home a Grow Hope Saskatchewan gift basket filled with goods donated a local artist and business. A youngster also took home a toy combine donated by another local business.

Aside from the food, music, face painting and games, there was another aspect to the community spirit. Bit by bit, we are becoming aware that there is a bigger picture than what we often think about. We are all God’s children, eating at God’s table with the Love of God present amongst us while we break bread together. May this message stretch across every corner of this Earth that sustains us. Amen!

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