Local Farm Harvests to Fight World Hunger

A group of local farmers harvest near Fort Kent to help raise money to fight world hunger.

While it’s been a tough year for a farmer’s nerves, a small local group were able to give back and harvest $60,000 worth of grain to send to the world’s hungry.

For 21 years, Bonnyville farmer Ed Persley and community members rent 120 acres west of Fort Kent to raise grain crops, which they harvest and send to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

That church-led organization sells the crops from these projects across the country to help the poor in places like Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

On Monday afternoon, after a bowl of soup and coffee, the farmers did it one more time.

Persley found out about the project two decades ago from a seed-growing convention, and it’s been going on ever since.

“I was kind of interested and I brought the story home, and suggested it to the church I attend, and it just seemed to take off from that point on,” he said.

“Every year it’s taken off this quarter. All twenty-one years.”

There are 36 similar projects happening across the province and many of them are locally funded, said Terrence Barg, a regional rep from Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

“Of course, the fall has been strange weather, and many of the harvests are happening this week,” he said.

“I think heading on the weekend we still had about 15 growing projects that we needed to harvest, and so many will happen this week. Hopefully they’ll all come in before the snow flies,” said Barg.

Amidst all the uncertainty with the farmers own potential yield, this year saw an uptick of support with seven combines working harvest.

“We didn’t really expect this window towards the end of October, but we’re also so thankful for it because not only are the growing projects out, but all the farmers who have their grain out as well are struggling. So, that’s the amazing thing is that even when farmers still have grain out in their field, they’re coming out to do the growing projects and making sure those are harvested,” said Barg.

“It’s not a one-off. It’s something they’re committed to and they work hard to make it happen.”

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Canadian Foodgrains Bank has committed over $50 million toward providing emergency food to Syrian refugees living in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as to households within Syria itself.

Helped by hundreds of Canadian farmer projects like the one Persley started all those years ago.

“I’m sure thankful that we can participate by feeding the hungry. It just seems to be a necessary part of the farming community to help those that need it.”