Foodgrains Bank Supporters Named Outstanding Young Farmers

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A couple who support a Canadian Foodgrains Bank growing project near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, is the recipient of a 2013 Outstanding Young Farmers award from the Canadian Western Agribition.

Michael Kalisvaart and his wife, Karen Jansen, who run a large grain farm at Gibbons, Alberta, were given the annual award at this year’s event in Regina.

The award recognizes “farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession and promote the tremendous contribution of agriculture,” including things like innovation, how they run their business, and how they practice environmental stewardship.

 “It definitely feels rewarding to be recognized,” says Kalisvaart, who is quick to point out the contributions made by other members of the family business.

“We’re a family operation. We’ve got a great team here,” he says, noting that his brother, sister and brother-in-law all are part of the 8,000 acre farm and that their father also helps out during harvest.

Foodgrains Bank Alberta Regional Coordinator Terence Barg isn’t surprised that the Kalisvaarts, who helped found the Share the Harvest growing project, would get the award.

“They are great farmers,” says Barg. “They are representative of many of the farmers who are involved with Foodgrains Bank growing projects.”

 Kalisvaart and Jansen are members of First Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton. Michael says they were inspired to be part of the Foodgrains Bank through the work of World Renew, the denomination’s development, disaster response and justice arm.

“I grew up seeing the work of World Renew in church,” says Kalisvaart. “It filled me with motivation to do what I could as well. The growing project is a great way we can share God’s gift.”

Of the growing project, now in its 12th year, Kalisvaart says that “it’s been a blessing how it came together, and how it’s been a success since the beginning. It’s a great feeling to see the trucks driving off the fields after a harvest.”

Click here to visit their farm’s website and learn more about their operations.

Photo: Michael Kalisvaart (l) and Karen Jansen (r) with their family.