I am, admittedly, a city boy. I grew up in small cities and have spent much of my adult life in large (by Canadian standards) cities. I buy meat that is wrapped in plastic and which sits on Styrofoam containers; the vegetables I buy are washed and but into bunches and sit under bright lights in the grocery store that are meant to make them look attractive. Where I normally purchase food is far away from where that food was first produced.
Which is why I loved the warm welcome I experienced in Central Alberta a couple of weeks ago when I arrived to help them celebrate harvest, because it put me in touch with where food comes FROM! Near Brownfield/Coronation a field of wheat had been growing all summer with the intention of using the proceeds from that crop to help feed the world’s hungry. This has been going on for 31 years, in some version. It all began when a group of Alberta farmers came up with the idea that instead of having the Canadian government dump grain into the ocean in order to reduce a too-high surplus (yes, that was being considered), it would be better to get that grain to people who were hungry. The “Coronation Grow Project” has evolved over the years, but what hasn’t changed is the single-minded objective: help feed the world’s hungry. Out of that idea emerged a cooperative of church-based agencies, The Canadian Foodgrains Bank. CBM was a founding member.
The weather changed on us last-minute and the harvest was delayed. It was a reminder that we are still dependent on God for our daily bread, even if that idea is not front and centre in my consciousness when I purchase my food in a local grocery store. However, I still got to participate in a Community Dinner that saw 150 people from the community gather together to celebrate this remarkable thing that they do together. The Coronation Grow Project includes “church people” and “normal people” :-). It includes entire families. It includes companies that make donations in-kind. It includes churches in Calgary (Westview Baptist) and Mississauga (Lorne Park Baptist) who take care of the costs of fertilizer and land rental. It is a remarkable example of the good that can result when people join together to make a difference in their world. Today is World Food Day (October 15th) and the story of this Grow Project gives us hope that, if we put our minds and hearts and hands together, we can make a difference for the world’s hungry.
Thanks to all those volunteers who put in countless hours to manage this project and see it through to completion. My special thanks to Byron and Susan Richardson, who were my hosts, and to Byron who oversees this worthwhile endeavour.