Heather Wright Photo
Chris Verhoven of Camlachie puts seed in his tractor as he prepares to help plant 44 acres of land in Plympton-Wyoming for Canadian Food Grains Bank.
A group of Central Lambton farmers are planting seeds of hope.
The Bluewater Growing Project is planting small plants of seed grains in the area which will be sold so the profits can buy food for people around the world.
Jack Koetsier says a number of farmers donate their time and others plots of land each year to plant either corn or soybeans. The seed and fertilizer are donated by local businesses and interested farmers bring their tractors to plant and later harvest the crop.
The crop is then sold and Koetsier says the money is given to Canada Foodgrains Bank, an agency whose goal is to end world hunger. Since 1983, the Foodgrains Bank has provided over 1.1 million tonnes of food to people in need.
“They bring the cash to the country where the food is needed and buy the food,” says Koetsier adding that avoids shipping costs, any spoilage or the chance of the food getting in the wrong hands.
And the Foodgrains Bank works with the federal government’s development agency which gives up to $4 for every $1 donated. Koetsier says that can make a huge impact since one year $55,000 was donated in Lambton alone.
The Bluewater Growing Project is looking forward to seeing what sort of profit will be shared with those in need this year. “This land was donated,” says Koetsier as he stood on the London Road property. “The owner could have rented it out but he wanted to do something for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, so this is a bonus,” he says.
Koetsier is hoping more local farmers will get involved to help the hungry far away. “We’re interested in even renting more land for the project,” he says adding they want to see the project grow.
And he’s not concerned they’ll have a hard time maintaining the land. “We have a number of farmers we just call up and ask if the want to help out and most people are more than happy to help.”
Monday, Chris Verhoven of Camlachie was one of the people on the land. He’d finished planting his own fields and was glad to help out. “Whenever they need me I come,” he says. “It beats some of the other groups you can donate to.”
“With the little bit we put in, we can get a big bang,” says Koetsier “it really doesn’t take a lot.”
If you would like to be involved, you can contact Koetsier at 519-331-4131.