By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
While it may not have been as big of an event as in previous years, the Coaldale-Lethbridge Foodgrains Growing Project’s harvest had a good turnout.
Over a dozen combines quickly went to work harvesting 180 acres of barley last Friday in a field east of Coaldale by Highway 512. Due to public health restrictions from the pandemic, they were not able to hold the harvest BBQ, but Ed Donkersgoed, committee member for the growing project, was impressed by the volunteers who came to help produce and harvest the crop.
“We’re thrilled to be part of another successful growing project here,” said Donkersgoed. “As always, we’ve got a huge group of volunteers to get this crop and get it to market.”
“This is our 14th year, and every year, we continue to be surprised by the support we’ve got from the broader community, and this year, with all that’s going on, both locally and globally, it seems of in spite of and maybe because of this COVID-19 pandemic, that people are choosing, making a very direct choice to help us out.”
Donkersgoed said their markets had been impacted because of the pandemic, and cattle producers, some of their biggest supporters, have had issues getting their products to market and experienced backups, which have financial implications for them. However, they have continued to step up and support them, in many cases paying a premium for their crop.
In previous years, the project has raised about $1.68 million, which is matched 4:1 by the federal government. Last year, they raised $173,000, and this year, they’re hoping to match that “and maybe do a bit better”, as the crop looks “phenomenal”.
Since 1983, growing projects support the the Canadian Foodgrains Bank by growing and harvesting a crop, selling it on the Canadian market and donating the proceeds to the foodgrains bank.
This money is then used to help combat world hunger.