Quietly making a difference: farmer and retailer partner on charity Prairie project

Balgonie Harvest of hope

There is natural tendency for people to focus on contention or what seems to be wrong with the world. It is nice, then, to hear about people, communities, corporations, and non-governmental organizations that are working together to make things better.

One such project is the Balgonie Harvest of Hope. Franck Groeneweg, an Edgeley-area farmer is working with Viterra and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to raise money for international development projects. Field editor Dale Leftwich recently got a chance to talk to Groeneweg about the Balgonie-area project. The conversation took place in the Harvest of Hope field (beside a very busy road).

Viterra has land around its elevators, such as the 42 acre field at Balgonie. It decided to offer this land, free of cost, to producers to grow grain for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Viterra started with a pilot project last year at two locations, this one and another at Stettler, AB. This year it has grown to six locations — three in Alberta and three in Saskatchewan.

Groeneweg says about the Balgonie project last year. “Last year about $12,500 came off here as grain then the federal government matches that three-to-one or four-to-one, depending on what kind of project it goes to.” As a result of these efforts, as much as $50,000 was generated for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank last year. In addition to providing the land, Viterra donates five dollars per tonne for each tonne of grain delivered to it from the partners’ fields.

The crop was canola last year and the seed and fertilizer were donated by various companies. This year, the field is in wheat, and Groenoweg donated the custom seeding and the other inputs himself.

At a time when most news seems to be bad, is it nice to see people and organizations working together to quietly make a difference.