Timeline: Foodgrains Bank marks 35 Years of working to end global hunger

2018 marks 35 years of Canadian Foodgrains Bank member churches and church agencies working together to end hunger.

The Foodgrains Bank was created in 1983 as a way for Canadian farmers, people who work in the agricultural sector, and other Canadians to respond to the needs of people around the world who don’t have enough to eat. The Foodgrains Bank emerged out of the Mennonite Central Committee Food Bank that had been created in 1975.

Today, we have 15 member churches and church-based agencies, representing 30 Canadian denominations, all united in the belief that God doesn’t want anyone to be hungry.

Browse the timeline below to see some of the highlights from our 35-year history.

1974

1974: Bangladesh Famine

1974: Bangladesh Famine

During a time of famine in Bangladesh, farmers in western Canada are enjoying bumper crops. They want to share their excess food with people who are hungry, but government policies at the time don’t permit it. They call on Mennonite Central Committee Canada to find a way; it proposes the creation of a food bank that can receive grain from Canadian farmers.

1975

1975: The MCC Food Bank is created

1975: The MCC Food Bank is created

The MCC Food Bank is created. It is based on the “Joseph principle” from the Old Testament—storing up grain in good years for use in bad times.

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), now Global Affairs Canada, agrees  to provide matching funds, a partnership that continues to this day.

1976

1976: MCC issues the first appeal for grain

1976: MCC issues the first appeal for grain

MCC issues the first appeal for grain. Farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta respond, contributing 1,442 tonnes of grain.

1977

1977: The first shipment sent to India

1977: The first shipment sent to India

The first shipment of 660 tonnes of grain is sent to India.

1979

1979: Canadian Wheat Board Partnership

1979: Canadian Wheat Board Partnership

The Canadian Wheat Board partners with the Food Bank to facilitate the handling and shipping of grain, a partnership that lasted until the demise of the Board in 2015.

1981

1981: Ontario farmers join MCC Food Bank efforts

1981: Ontario farmers join MCC Food Bank efforts

The Food Bank grows to include farmers in Ontario through Corn for the Horn, a response to the hunger crisis in Ethiopia.

1983

1983: Canadian Foodgrains Bank is born

With encouragement from the Government of Canada, MCC invites other churches and church agencies to join and Canadian Foodgrains Bank is born. The first members are MCC Canada, Canadian Baptist International Ministries, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, The Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (now World Renew).

1984

1984: Foodgrains Bank members respond to famine in Ethiopia

The Foodgrains Bank, through its members, responds to famine in Ethiopia. Two new members join: Emergency Relief & Development Overseas (Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) and The United Church of Canada.

1987

1987: Food Study Tour Program Begins

The Food Study Tour program begins, giving Canadians a chance to visit and learn from partners and others in the developing world.

1988

1988: Two New Members Join Foodgrains Bank

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada join.

1989

1989: First Community Growing Projects Begin

1989: First Community Growing Projects Begin

The first community growing projects—where farmers come together to plant, grow and harvest a crop for the Foodgrains Bank—are started independently of each other in Carrot River, Saskatchewan and Paisley, Ontario. Today there are over 200 growing projects from P.E.I. to B.C.

1990

1990: ADRA Canada Joins

1990: ADRA Canada Joins

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) joins.

1991

1991: World Relief Canada (now Tearfund Canada) Joins

1991: World Relief Canada (now Tearfund Canada) Joins

World Relief Canada (now Tearfund Canada), representing six denominations, joins.

1992

1992: Presbyterian World Service & Development Joins

1992: Presbyterian World Service & Development Joins

Presbyterian World Service and Development joins.

1994

1994: Foodgrains Bank broadens work to include food security

The Foodgrains Bank broadens its mandate beyond humanitarian aid to include food security—helping people to become more resilient so they better weather disasters and food crises, and develop long-term, sustainable livelihoods.

1996

1996: Response in North Korea

Famine conditions in North Korea prompts the Foodgrains Bank to provide one of its largest-ever responses—over 81,000 tonnes of food and other assistance over seven years. The Salvation Army joins.

1998

1998: Foodgrains Bank members respond to Hurricane Mitch

Hurricane Mitch causes devastation in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala in 1998. Foodgrains Bank members respond.

1999

1999: Foodgrains Bank increases policy work

A policy advisor is hired to advocate for better Canadian government and international policies to help end global hunger. A public engagement coordinator is hired to develop and expand global hunger education activities in Canada.

2000

2000: First People-to-People Visitor

The first People-to-People program visitor comes to Canada from the developing world, sharing about the work made possible by supporters.

2001

2001: Nutrition programming begins

2001: Nutrition programming begins

Nutrition is added to the list of programs supported by the Foodgrains Bank.