Volunteers plant foodgrains bank crop

Volunteers with the Ponoka Growing Project are hoping that their 13th year of farming for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will be a lucky one.

Agro Ponoka John Deere Sales and Service recently volunteered a crew and tractor

Agro Ponoka John Deere Sales and Service recently volunteered a crew and tractor

By George Brown

Ponoka News Editor

Volunteers with the Ponoka Growing Project are hoping that their 13th year of farming for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank will be a lucky one.

A team of volunteers from Agro Ponoka John Deere Sales and Service worked the field May 14 with a huge John Deer tractor, air hoe drill and air seeder.

“It went pretty well,” said spokesman Larry Henderson.

“I was out checking it after church on Sunday (May 24) and it’s sprouting already. It’s coming pretty quickly.

“The seed was in good moisture so that’s a good thing.”

Henderson said with the current drought conditions, the drill plants the seed a little deeper where what moisture there is resides.

The Ponoka Foodgrains Bank project rents 170 acres along the old C and E Trail. The crew from Agro Ponoka started seeding barley late afternoon and with the help of a GPS unit planning the route, was able to seed well after dusk, halving the time required by conventional seeding techniques.

“They can go a little better ground speed with the larger tractor too,” said Henderson. “It’s remarkable what they can do now with the larger equipment and how quickly they can do it.”

Henderson is thankful to local businesses for their donations of fertilizer and seed to get the project in the ground. He said it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and unselfish actions of the farmers, businesses, volunteers and church groups who believe in this Christian project.

Last year the local growing project raised $73,00 from its crop to help the Canadian Foodgrains Bank fight world hunger. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provides $20 million annually to match shipments 4:1. This enhances the amount of food and assistance local projects can provide. In total, Ponoka’s project in 2008 provided enough food to feed about 35,000 people for one month. There were 33 such projects in Alberta last year — 72 on the Prairies.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of Canadian church-based agencies working to end hunger in developing countries by increasing and deepening the involvement of Canadians in efforts to end hunger.

On behalf of its 15 member agencies, the Foodgrains Bank collects grain and cash donations, provides funds and expert advice for projects submitted by member agencies and their partners, manages the procurement and supply of food commodities, and engages in public policy and education activities related to hunger and food security.

Volunteers are still needed to donate time, equipment or necessities such as fertilizer and herbicide. Cash donations are also welcomed as the rent on the land is paid in two lumps — one now and one at harvest. Contact Larry Henderson at 403-782-5218, treasurer Henry Pregitzer at 403-783-2448 or project co-ordinator Peter Doornenbal to see how you can help.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a federally incorporated, non-profit corporation registered as a charitable agency.