Local farmers in High River are working together to put and end to hunger.

The Foothills Growing Project, under the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, was originally founded by Murray and Dawn Giles through the High River Baptist Church, but has now grown to include Les Rempel, Dan and Laura Nauta, and Terry and Yetta Greidanus who also donated acres to farm.

The farmers plant and harvest the acres they donated as usual, but the money from the crop is matched by the Canadian Government four to one, and is used for food aid through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

The Government has supported the Foodgrains Bank since it began in 1983, and is one of the two primary channels for the Canadian Government's funding for food assistance.

With help from the Church and the community, the input costs have been covered by people sponsoring acres for $250 each. The Growing Project started with Murray and Dawn donating 50 acres to farm, but through overwhelming support, the Project has grown to 115 acres.

Dawn Giles says, last year they raised about $161,000.

"As farmers, with the hours that we put in, sometimes it's hard to be involved with these great organizations that are out there helping people. So it's a way that we can give from the lifestyle that we live."

This is the second year for the Foothills Growing Project, and it's one of 200 Foodgrains Bank Projects in Canada.

"The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is nothing new. It was started in 1976 by the Mennonite Central Committee as a way of farmers being able to help out with food crisis situations around the world."

She says it's been a hot and dry summer, so crops may be less than average, but nearly all inputs have been donated this year.

The project received so much support last year, they decided to give back to the local community.

"This year, before the money is given to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, we are going to donate $500 towards the Food for Thought school lunch program that runs in High River, which benefits all the local school children who need lunches. We are also giving $500 towards the salvation army food bank."

The Cargill Elevator in Blackie is allowing farmers hauling their grain to the elevator to donate a portion of their crops towards the Foothills Growing Project.

If you want to learn more, or are interested in donating, you can visit their website.


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