Nine combines took to a field near Lacombe to harvest 160 acres of canola for the Central Alberta Foodgrains project on Sunday. (Submitted photo by Chris Dyck)

Central Alberta Foodgrains Project celebrates its 23rd year

Annual event donates a crop to Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help ease world hunger

For 22 years, Central Albertans have joined forces and combines to help the world’s hungry.

The donation of 100 acres of prime farmland just northwest of Clive means the 23rd year for the Central Alberta Foodgrains Project is now assured.

Doug Maas, a member of the foodgrains committee, admits they were getting a little concerned as the weeks passed without available land.

“This was the latest we’ve ever arranged land,” said Maas on Wednesday. “We were worried we wouldn’t have a project this year.”

However, the same family that donated land last year stepped up again to provide land, which will be used for a CPS wheat crop.

This year’s field is not far from the quarter section where canola was harvested by a fleet of nine combines last year raising a record $117,000 in sales and donations for the charity. Money raised is matched four-to-one by the Canadian government so local fundraising ultimately helps contribute $585,000 to food and food security assistance projects throughout the developing world.

Maas is not expected to break any records this year. Last year, they had a full quarter-section to work with and benefited from a bumper canola crop and high prices.

“Everything clicked.”

All of the funding goes to Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and church-based organizations, working to end hunger in about 40 countries around the world.

Maas said Canadian Foodgrains monitors the world situation and directs donations to where they are needed most.

The local foodgrains project is among more than 200 across the country that rely on the support of volunteers and donors. One of the ways to help out is to sponsor an acre for a suggested donation of $100. The cash is used to cover crop insurance and any inputs, such as fertilizer, not donated by area suppliers.

Others have gathered donations in lieu of birthday presents and some farmers will donate a portion of their crop when they take it to the grain elevators.

“They’re all kinds of different ways (to donate).”

Of course, fall harvest day is the marquee event for many. Nine combines hit the field last year, and as many as 17 have arrived on harvest day in past years.

A harvest barbecue caps off the fundraising effort. Last year, 125 turned out for the food fest.

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