Thanksgiving spirit marks Foodgrains harvest

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving and giving back, the Ponoka County community once again came together to combine the field of dreams

Maggie Heisler and Chester celebrate another Foodgrains project harvest.

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving and giving back, the Ponoka County community once again came together to combine the field of dreams, for the 16th year.

Each fall eight to nine combines and close to 150 people gather just south of Ponoka at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFB) Ponoka Chapter field to reap the global aid springing from the dirt.

This year’s harvest day fell on Oct. 11 — the beginning of Thanksgiving weekend. “It’s truly a Thanksgiving event here today,” said Larry Henderson, Foodgrains Project member.

“It gets the community working for a common good,” added Andre Visscher, Canadian Foodgrains Bank regional co-ordinator for Alberta.

In Visscher’s four and half years with CFB he’s seen the projects bring county and town residents together as well as businesses and churches that usually wouldn’t partner. “They all agree hungry people in this world are not acceptable. It’s great to see that we’re celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend and they realize how good they have it in Canada.”

Last year, Ponoka’s project raised $85,000. “We’re hoping to beat that,” said Henderson.

Across Alberta $2.8 million was raised, across Canada it was $11 million and 137 countries came together to generate $43 million. “More than 2 million people benefited from these projects,” said Visscher.

Henderson says early estimates show the crop looks good, with approximately 50 bushels per acre. “We’ve good donations throughout the year . . . We’re ahead of the game right now.”

For the first time in several years, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins was also able to attend the event.

“It’s a great opportunity to share the bounty we have here in Canada with those less fortunate,” he said.

Calkins, who grew up on a small family farm, said he was delighted to see the neighbor-help-neighbor mentality can be achieved on a global level.