row Hope Nova Scotia all began with a trip overseas. Greg Jones, a farmer and accountant in Truro, N.S., was asked to volunteer as an overseas accountant for Canadian Foodgrains Bank. While visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique and Cambodia, he saw the impact that well-placed resources can have on a community.
When Greg returned home, he wanted to make a difference. In 2015, Greg and his wife, Carol, decided to offer six acres of their farmland to produce corn for a Grow Hope project with the Foodgrains Bank. Through this initiative, Canadians without a farming connection can play a role in growing a crop by sponsoring an acre of land.
For more than 30 years, Canadian farmers have been working to end global hunger through the Foodgrains Bank – a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and church-based agencies. Groups of farmers will tend and harvest a crop, sell it on the Canadian market, then donate the proceeds to the Foodgrains Bank to provide food aid around the world. CBM is one of the founding members of the Foodgrains Bank and manages the Grow Hope project in Nova Scotia. Greg and Carol’s decision to offer their land created a ripple effect in their community. The following season, their neighbour liked the idea and contributed six acres of his own land. In the past few years, other people and businesses have also added to the acreage. The project now has more than 40 acres of land, mainly for corn crops, with some soy and canola. This year, a calf was also added to the project. Like the crops, every calf a cow produces will be sold to support emergency food aid.
As a labour of love, farmers work hard to ensure the crops are planted well – their efforts are much appreciated! As farmers, they have to contend with weather challenges that cause a late start in the growing or create unfavourable conditions. But they have learned to pool their resources and work together to yield the best possible harvest.
Ian MacHattie and Brenda Leanders are provincial representatives with the Foodgrains Bank. They bring much of the hands-on and helpful ideas needed to make this a viable project. When the crops are sold, the proceeds are deposited into CBM’s account with the Foodgrains Bank. This year, the donations will go towards our COVID-19 response and emergency food aid.
The churches of the Northeast Nova Baptist Association have also helped with some of the funding. Baptist churches from across Atlantic Canada, as well as congregations from other denominations, are beginning to see the fantastic opportunity of this yearly event. Many individuals know of the work and have sent donations. There is a consistent effort to make this a community event for everyone!
The success of Grow Hope Nova Scotia demonstrates that things change – for the better – when we go, see and create opportunities to help.
serves as CBM’s
for Atlantic Canada.