Crops await Foodgrains combines

Central Alberta volunteers committed to seeing world hunger end will be combining crops later this week in Central Alberta.

Central Alberta volunteers committed to seeing world hunger end will be combining crops later this week in Central Alberta.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is harvesting on Friday in the Ponoka area and on Saturday in the Lacombe area. Volunteers collect grain and cash donations for projects submitted by 15 Canadian churches and church-based agencies.

The Ponoka Foodgrains Project has been around for 15 years. It rents 170 acres on land three km south of Ponoka on Hwy 2A and 1.6 km southwest on the C&E Trail.

Volunteers dine on a catered lunch, money donations accepted, at 12:30 p.m.

Then the combines, between seven and 15, come out to harvest the crop. This year, it’s barley.

“It takes a little over a couple of hours usually,” said committee member Larry Henderson.

Proceeds from the grain sales go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which since 1983 has provided more than 1,100,000 tonnes of food assistance to people who are hungry in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provides $25 million a year in financial support.

Last year, 35 projects benefited. They involve everything from development work to actual food distribution.

Some of that work involves helping the world’s poor to have better farming practices so they can be more self-sustaining, said Henderson.

About 30 harvesting projects take place in Alberta.

Henderson said such projects become a real community endeavour.

Agricultural dealerships, fertilizer and seed dealers, and credit agencies are among those who donate to the cause in some way.

While Ponoka has used the same field each year, the Central Alberta Foodgrains Project uses different fields each year. This year, it grew crops on two pieces of land for the first time.

“Last year, we had 154 acres west of Bentley,” said committee member Doug Maas of Lacombe. “We’ve moved it around so we get different farmers and different (public) exposure.”

On Monday, three farmers took canola off a 50-acre field north of Lacombe. Vision Truck Lines, a company from just south of Lacombe, donated a truck so the grain could be hauled to the Viterra grain elevator just east of Lacombe.

A total of 2,150 bushels of canola were received.

Maas said the group collected more than $28,000 from this grain sale.

On Saturday, the harvesting will begin on a field west of the Lacombe-Hwy 2 overpass, specifically at Hwy 12 and Range Road 27-5.

Members of the public are welcome to attend a barbecue that starts at noon. Donations are welcome.

Farming volunteers will then harvest 60 acres of canola, weather permitting, while spectators can watch.

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