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Picture Butte Food Grains Bank searches for land for 2022 crop

Posted on March 9, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News

The Picture Butte Food Grains Bank recently announced a $185,000 donation to the Canadian Food Grains Bank to help fight against world hunger. Donations raised through this initiative are matched by the Canadian government 4:1, meaning Picture Butte’s crop in 2021 generated $925,000 total to help people experiencing hunger worldwide. The Picture Butte chapter is planning on growing a barley crop in 2022, and intends to have an online sale of the crop later in the year.

Tony Kok, a board member of the Picture Butte Food Grains Bank, explained the process requires sponsors, donated time and equipment, and community buy-in from many volunteers.

“We get a quarter of a grain and we get sponsors to help pay for the rent,” Kok explained, adding, “we also get seeds and equipment donated.” The organization has an agronomist working on the project as well who donates their time to ensure a successful harvest.

The charitable organization functions in two ways. First by providing immediate food relief to countries experiencing drought, war, or other humanitarian crises. The other primary function is to set local farmers and fishermen up, “to grow their crops in a more sustainable way to help feed their families and communities,” said Kok.

Canadian Food Grains has helped people in over 70 countries worldwide through their growing projects and food aid. Developing nations tend to comprise the majority of areas where relief is allocated to, but the organization also, “respond(s) to other countries such as Ukraine, to provide food and supplies needed in Ukraine and surrounding countries that are taking in citizens,” explained Kok.

With the help of many volunteers, the crop is harvested at the end of the year and sold. During a recent board meeting, the members discussed their plans to acquire land for the upcoming 2022 crop. Kok said the Picture Butte Food Grains Bank is still working on finding a plot of land for this year, but added the organization has to be competitive to make it worthwhile for the landowner. “What we do is pay fair market value for the land,” and added the cost per acre has increased around 30 per cent since 2021. “Last year, it was around $325 an acre, but this year, it is going to be closer to $500 an acre, because of the crop increases, so we have to be that high in order to get a piece of land,” Kok explained, adding, “we realize with commodities at all-time highs, we need to be at a competitive rate for rent which we are willing to pay.”

“We are paying top dollar for rent so please feel free to contact the board members if you know of a quarter available,” read a recent release. To inquire about a land agreement for the 2022 crop, contact Leighton Kolk or Gerald Slomp, or email pbfoodgrains@gmail.com for more information.

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