A group of volunteer farmers say roughly 300 acres of Alberta barley could help raise close to half a million dollars to battle global hunger.
About twenty farmers with Share the Harvest took to their tractors and combines in Gibbons, about 30 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, on Saturday.
The group partners annually with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which uses proceeds from the barley harvest to support their food and agricultural projects in nearly 40 countries across Africa, Asia and Central America.
“We are blessed to live in a land of abundance and had a desire to share with others,” said Shaun Galloway, a director with Share the Harvest.
The farmers expect to sell the barley harvest for around $125,000. The proceeds go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which will then match the proceeds up to around $500,000, Galloway said.
“There’s a million ways to help others and this is just one that our farmers are involved in,” said Galloway. “We can use our circle of influence to help others. That’s why I do it, that’s why the other guys do it.”
The harvest was a community affair, with about 50 people sharing a barbecue and watching the combines harvest the barley field.
The inputs, from fertilizers to seed, were provided by agriculture companies. About half the farming land was donated by Suncor. Share the Harvest is asking the public to sponsor the remaining farmland, which was put up for use by a member of the group.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank says it helped over 800,000 people in 36 countries last year through its member agencies. The charity says it provided $23 million for food assistance programs alone.
A large part of the charity’s support comes from growing projects such as Share the Harvest, says regional coordinator Terence Barg.
The charity helps coordinate over 200 growing projects across Canada, including 34 in Alberta.
“I think many Canadians believe we can do something to make a difference in the lives of people that are hungry,” Barg said.
The latest United Nations report estimates roughly 821 million people are undernourished globally.