The final tally isn’t quite in yet, but communities throughout Manitoba have once again produced a sizable harvest for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
“You never know exactly at this time of year, but I am seeing about 5,600 acres and that includes a project in Thunder Bay, Ont., as well,” said Harold Penner, CFGB regional representative. “I believe we are about 90 per cent done harvest right now and we probably have about 500 acres to go at this point.”
Every year a number of communities throughout the province comes together to grow and harvest a crop through volunteer labour and donations.
Funds raised are then matched four to one by the federal government and donated to the CFGB.
The CFGB puts these donations to work in a number of projects throughout the world, which aims to fight global hunger, reduce malnutrition and achieve sustainable food security.
In 2015-16, the CFGB helped over one million people in 40 countries by providing food in times of crisis and helping people grow more food to better support themselves.
Last year Manitoba raised $3 million in donations through 29 CFGB projects on 5,750 acres.
Penner says that despite struggling with some weather obstacles, Manitoba’s efforts should produce another sizable donation this year.
“Our fields are spread all over Manitoba so we get a little bit of whatever is going on. We have had a lot of reports of average crops but some seem to be turning out better than expected,” Penner said.
About 10 different crops were grown, including hard wheat, soybeans, canola, winter wheat, barley, fall rye, corn, and alfalfa.
“Hard wheat was still the biggest crop that people grow for us and the second crop acres this year were soybeans,” Penner said.
A fall gathering
Every year following harvest, the Manitoba chapter of the CFGB puts on a fall banquet in order to celebrate the year’s accomplishments, enjoy a meal together and discuss how the donated funds are being put to use.
“This year, instead of holding one of the events in Winnipeg we will be holding one here in the Morris-Rosenort area,” Penner said.
The organization has decided to switch up this year’s location in order to draw some attention to the 40th anniversary of when area farmers began gathering and donating grain to the food bank.
“Forty years ago, in 1976, is when farmers here started to gather grain for the newly formed food bank and the first shipment of grain was actually shipped out in January of 1977,” Penner said. “So it has been exactly 40 years ago that farmers in this area actually started doing this and that is what led into the CFGB, which was formed in 1983. So, at the banquet we plan to talk a little bit about that and we will have a few of the guys who were involved in it at that time to share a little bit.”
Two fall banquets will be held, one in Brandon on November 24 and another in the Morris-Rosenort area on November 22.
“Everyone is welcome to attend and if you have some interest in starting up a grow project in your community, the fall banquet is a great place to start. Come and listen to what other people are doing and we usually do some sharing. So, come and see what it is all about,” Penner said.