Many Canadian farmers make an impact on people experiencing hunger around the world by coming together to grow a crop that is sold on the Canadian market with the proceeds donated to Canadian Foodgrains Bank. They’re doing what they know best and using their professional expertise. But there are other creative ways the non-farming Ontario ag community is getting involved in the fight against global hunger using their own professional expertise.
For example, at ag-focused real estate firm FarmOntario, a percentage of the commissions that brokers earn from their sales are donated to the Foodgrains Bank, to be used in the work of responding to hunger around the world. With FarmOntario’s four brokers all specializing in agriculture land sales, the cause of global food and hunger issues is a natural fit.
For Phil Spoelstra, one of the firm’s two owners, it’s important to give back to the wider global community in light of how fortunate he feels to be a part of the agricultural community in Canada.
He notes that was one of the things that COVID-19 pandemic really brought home for him.
“The pandemic has highlighted how lucky we are here in Canada when it comes to production of and access to healthy food. In many countries, this just isn’t the case,” he says. “From our farmers to our shelves we have a consistent supply of food, and we know this is the objective Foodgrains is working towards in parts of our world that don’t have this same security.”
As a business owner, Phil also acknowledges the growing role of corporate social responsibility in society. “With social media, people are more aware of what businesses are doing, and they’re digging into a company’s practices.” As a person of faith, he notes that “the motivation to give should come from a place of gratitude for what we have been given, not seeking to alter someone’s perception of a company.”
FarmOntario’s goal is about more than just the finances, though. The team also lends their social media reach to the Foodgrains Bank to get more farmers involved, and to spread the word about the issue of global hunger.
That’s something for which Henry Reinders, Ontario representative for the Foodgrains Bank, is grateful.
“While of course we appreciate the financial support from FarmOntario, it also means the world to have them come alongside us to spread the word about the immense problem of hunger and to speak out for a world where all people have enough to eat,” he says.
For the FarmOntario team, it’s something they’re glad to do.
“Those people who are already involved with the Foodgrains Bank have a joy and excitedness to the work they’re doing,” says Phil. “Our whole team jumped right onboard with supporting that work with no hesitation.”