Seeds Program Seeks to Help 2,500 Liberian Families

Post a Comment » Written on April 17th, 2007     
Filed under: News
NORQUAY, SK (April 17, 2007) – Organizers of Kernels of Hope 2007 are looking for even more “farmers” to raise money to help 2,500 Liberians families become self-sufficient through agricultural production.

Members of the Evangelical Covenant Church in Canada have raised more than $250,000 since they started the project in 2005, says Ray “The Grain Man” Baloun, who has led the project.

Farmers set aside part of their land to be “purchased” by donors who pay the input costs of rent, seed, chemicals, insurance, and custom work. The farmers donate their time.

The wheat is eventually sold. The Canadian International Development Agency matches the grain sales four to one to reach the final donation amount, Baloun says. The money is distributed through the Canadian Food Grains Bank and World Relief Canada.

Costs average $175 per acre, Baloun says. People and churches can sponsor part of an acre, an entire acre, or multiple acres. Four farms in three provinces have land set aside for the project this year:
•    Darren and Cheryl Tiede are growing 40 acres of peas in Strathmore, Alberta, the first time a crop other than wheat has been grown for the project
•    Slavic Dasiuk is growing 40 acres of wheat at Dundurn, Saskatchewan
•    Tim and Melissa Johnson are growing 40 acres of wheat at Hyas, Saskatchewan
•    Jim and Bryan Sandstrom of Minnedosa, Manitoba, are growing wheat on 80 acres

The Kernels of Hope program has expanded each year. In 2005, a total of $69,178 was raised from crops on 55 acres at a single farm. In 2006, the project raised $191,000 from crops on 136 acres spread across three farms.

“We are helping to support 2,500 families in the Liberian district by providing seed rice and assorted farming tools to rebuild their farming lives,” Baloun says. “They are aiming to grow enough food for themselves to have nutrition for 12 months of the year and a little surplus to sell for other necessities of life.”

The Covenanters also are assisting in a Food for Work project for young people in Liberia that will repair bridges in the area, providing better access to the market, Baloun adds.

For more information, email Ray Baloun or call him at 204-867-5341. Charitable tax receipts will be issued in January 2008. Checks can be made payable to ECCC and mailed to the ECCC in care of Ingrid Wildman, Box 93, Norquay, SK, S0A2V0.

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