One of the core educational aspects of the Foodgrains Bank is learning tours, where supporters, members of Parliament, growing project leaders, community members and educators travel to local projects in countries where we work. Tour participants visit Foodgrains Bank projects, engage with small-scale farmers and expand their knowledge and understanding of hunger and food security.
Here are a couple of stories from learning tour participants in recent years…
SARA FARID – Burkina Faso & Sierra Leone, 2014
Sara Farid recalls her experience on the learning tour to Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso as nothing short of remarkable.
On staff at Development and Peace at the time, Farid describes the tour as a “milestone in my career”. She now works doing peace programming for Global Affairs Canada. Although the days were intense and some of her experiences were exceptionally difficult, she says her takeaways from the tour were so worth it.
“I learned a lot from the Foodgrains Bank’s approach,” she explained. “I was so impacted by the compassion I witnessed.”
She was challenged by the deep conversations with the local partners as well as her fellow participants on the tour. Her steepest learning was around the different, sometimes “wildly opposing” theological views different participants and people they met on the tour.
“It was fascinating,” she recalls. “I learned so much about denominations and interfaith movements.” “The learning tour was so formative and enlightening,” said Farid. “I’d recommend it to anyone.”
GABRIELLE EDWARDS – Lebanon, 2017
Gabrielle Edwards’ coworker tipped her off about Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s learning tours. The tour in Lebanon was “amazing but heavy” and exposed her to Syrian and Palestinian refugees. She recalls it was a privilege to go, but it wasn’t a vacation.
“It was so heartbreaking to see, but at the same time it was inspiring to see the care the partners showed and how Canadian Foodgrains Bank delivers food assistance all the while maintaining the dignity of people they serve.”
The experience forced Edwards to examine and solidify her values. It motivated her to get a master’s degree in human development and food systems in Rome and her current pursuit of a PhD in sustainable curriculum studies.
“I think of that learning tour often,” she says. “It set the baseline for how I do development work.”
Edwards wants to empower Canadian youth to get more involved with food systems. “The most effective place I can be is here using my voice to educate Canadians.”
This article was originally published in the Winter 2023 edition of Breaking Bread. Download your copy here.