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Food Grains planting seeds for a better tomorrow

Posted on March 18, 2014 by Sunny South News

Tony Kok, a board member of the Picture Butte Food Grains Project for the past six years, said since 2001 the local project has raised over a million dollars — which is matched by the government 4-1.

“We operate through the Canadian Food Grains Bank out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. They host projects all over Canada and the Picture Butte growing project is one of them. We’re just a small part,” said Kok, adding it’s been a really good project for this area.

According to Kok, there are six people on the board but it’s a community project. “Almost everybody in the area is involved.”

Other board members include Leighton Kolk, Ed Stronks, Gerald Slomp, Rex Vandenberg and Hess Baarda.

Contributions from southern Albertans range from monetary gifts to farmers lending a hand with combines, trucks, balers, swathers, seeding, spraying, fertilizer, barbecues, loaders and seed for growing during the harvest.

Kok got involved with the project to help out abroad and was concerned about poverty in other nations.

“I like the Canadian Food Grains Bank because they do more than just provide food. They provide tools so that farmers can grow their own food in whatever area,” said Kok, adding the project isn’t just a quick fix, as it also provides the tools for farmers overseas to learn the skills for water and reforestation projects and to be self-sufficient.

The Picture Butte Food Grains Project is presently on the lookout for a quarter of land again this year to be used for planting purposes.

“We rent a quarter locally at a fair market value and we generally plant when everybody else is planting and then harvest usually at the beginning of September,” said Kok.

The mission of Canadian Foodgrains Bank is to end global hunger by collecting grain and cash donations for projects submitted by 15-member agencies and their partners.

The Foodgrains Bank also provides expert advice, manages the procurement and supply of food commodities and engages in public policy and education activities related to hunger and food security.

Canadian Foodgrains Bank, in conjunction with its members and their partners around the world, works to end global hunger by: supporting international programs to meet immediate food needs, reduce malnutrition, and achieve sustainable food security; influencing improvements in national and international policies that contribute to ending global hunger; and increasing and deepening the engagement of Canadians in efforts to end global hunger.

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

Since 1983, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank membership has provided over 1,100,000 tonnes of food assistance to people who are hungry in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe.

The Canadian Government provides $25 million a year in financial support.

Last year, Canadians responded to global hunger by donating $11.9 million dollars in cash and cashed out grain to the Foodgrains Bank.

The Foodgrains Bank no longer ships Canadian grain overseas, instead grain donations are sold on the Canadian market and food is bought closer to the area of need.

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