“We see ourselves as custodians of the land and are glad to use our efforts and expertise in agriculture to help people who are hungry,” says Les Bolstad of Mercer Seeds.
Viterra and Canadian Foodgrains Bank celebrated the second year of their partnership today, which saw over 300 acres seeded earlier this year to benefit hungry people around the world.
Speakers included Viterra’s Market Centre Manager for Lethbridge and area, Davin Lockwood, local farmer Leslie Bolstad from Mercer Seeds and Foodgrains Bank Board Chair Kenneth Kim.
The project builds on last year’s successful pilot project that saw Viterra provide the Foodgrains Bank with access to 42 acres of land to farm around its terminals in Balgonie, Saskatchewan and Stettler, Alberta.
This year, a total of 326 acres from Viterra terminals in the Albertan towns of Lethbridge and Trochu, as well as terminals in the Saskatchewan towns of Raymore and Grenfell, was also made available.
Local farmers, supported by their communities, volunteered their time, equipment and resources to farm the land.
Ryan Mercer farmed the land in Lethbridge on behalf of the Foodgrains Bank. His business, which he runs alongside extended family, is a full crop production and cleaning operation.
The family has contributed to the work of ending global hunger through the Foodgrains Bank for several years through their own growing project. “We’re richly blessed here in Canada, and it’s a way of giving back,” he says.
“It is something we can do both at the local level as well as an agricultural community to help end hunger,” says Mercer. “Larger corporations such as Viterra can be involved, as well as small family farms.”
Foodgrains Bank board chair Ken Kim is grateful for the impact the partnership will have on people facing hunger in the developing world
“One of the biggest challenges faced by many farmers who want to get involved in the fight against global hunger through a growing project is that of obtaining land,” says Foodgrains Bank board chair Kenneth Kim. “This donation of land from Viterra, combined with the time and resources of some very dedicated farmers, will touch the lives of many people around the world who do not get enough to eat.”
Viterra’s President and CEO, Kyle Jeworski says, “We’re pleased to support the substantial growth of our partnership with the Foodgrains Bank this year by providing additional land to local farmers, who have been very generous in donating their expertise, time and equipment. This is a great example of a team effort to directly help those in need while raising important awareness about global hunger.”
In addition to providing the land, Viterra will also provide the Foodgrains Bank with a donation of $5 for each tonne of crops donated to the organization through one of its 68 grain elevators in Western Canada.