Grassroots Heroes

Field of Dreams

This past September, eight kids and seven parents from Lorne Park Baptist Church in Mississauga headed west to spend four days with the members of Brownfield Baptist Church in Alberta, their Canadian Foodgrains Bank growing project partner. For these urban families, the trip was an opportunity to teach their kids about food production and sow seeds of compassion in their hearts for hungry people.

These seeds were planted over 30 years ago, by Art Cole and Clayton Richardson, two Baptist farmers from Brownfield who began the project as a way to enable Canadian grain farmers to share their harvests with those in need around the world. In 1983, this project led to the establishment of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, a 15 member agency organization (including CBM) with the goal of ending global hunger. Today, farmers in the Brownfield/Coronation community continue to cultivate the “Lord’s field” each year, carrying on the tradition of feeding the hungry.

Nine years ago, the congregation at Lorne Park entered into partnership with the project by committing to raise the funds required for the rental of the 300 acre field each year. Since then, these two churches, along with Westview Baptist Church in Calgary who pays for the fertilizer costs, have shared the burdens and the joys of this project together. Says Jordan Webber, the Coordinator of the project, “Having partners like Lorne Park and Westview is an amazing blessing to this grow project. We love that it is a project we can accomplish together as urban and rural churches. Having partners allows us to send more funds to where they will make a difference.”

For the kids from Lorne Park, all of whom had never been to Alberta, the visit was a real highlight. Says 10-year-old Alison about the trip, “It was an interesting experience and I enjoyed meeting the people from Brownfield who we work on this project with.” A week after the Lorne Park visit, 12 combines, nine semi-trucks, one grain cart and many community volunteers helped harvest 391 tons of wheat, which after being matched by the Government of Canada, equals $400,000 of food assistance for Syrian refugee families in Lebanon this year. A satisfying end to another fruitful year of collaboration.