Canola seeds planted for a local charity growing project

After an extensive search for donated or loanable farmland in March, Maas and his team secured 50 acres in late April, nestled on Woody Nook Rd in western Lacombe County behind a private residence.

READ: Local Charity Growing Project Needing Land in Lacombe County

On May 13, a volunteer farmer prepared the field while another finished the seeding. Maas says the heavy rains of the past few days have been more than welcome.

Harvesting in the fall also depends on the amount of rain. While they normally take place in October, last year’s harvest took place in September due to the dry season, Maas explains. Even so, the CAFGP brought in $115,000 from its canola crop grown on 120 acres, which was later tied 4-1 by the feds.

With the current global crises of the Ukrainian-Russian war, gas and food price inflation and supply chain difficulties, Maas says this year’s donation is more important than ever.

“The number of people in the world who need food aid is increasing and it is because of the conflicts, like in Ukraine, and it is also because of the effects of climate change. What we are able to produce, sell and send to help people in need around the world is really important and will continue to be important in the years to come,” he said.

Fortunately, supply chain shouldn’t be a factor for Canadian foodgrain banks, as they say funds from canola crops sold will go to trusted partners overseas to buy food near from where it is needed.

The organization, through its membership in the Humanitarian Coalition, a non-profit organization that helps in international crises, also provides funds to Ukraine and appeals for urgent emergency aid.

For central Albertans who want to help but can’t volunteer on farmland, like those who live in urban centers, Maas says they can always donate or even sponsor an acre for $100. Donations over $10 will receive tax receipts.

“CAFGP started in 1996 and during that time we have raised over $1.5 million for the Foodgrains Bank,” he said. “We rely on volunteers and they are always there for us. Agri-food too, they provide us with seeds and some inputs. It really is a community project.

In 2021, Canadian Foodgrains Banks helped just over 989,000 people in 31 different countries around the world, raising $49 million. There are about 200 charitable cultures in Canada, with about 30 of them in the province of Alberta.

For more information, contact Doug Maas at 403-782-1860.

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