Grow Hope project helps feed the hungry

Olympic medalist Cindy Klassen (front middle) was joined by other Grow Hope Saskatchewan supporters during the inaugural field day on August 25

Grow Hope Saskatchewan hosted its first field day in Rosthern on August 25. The project consisted of many partnerships to make it successful.

The organization was joined by six-time Olympic medalist Cindy Klassen and other Grow Hope supporters.

“This event is intended to imagine and work towards a world where nobody goes hungry,” said Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Saskatchewan communications and donor relations director Rick Guenther.

Grow Hope Saskatchewan is a partnership between the Saskatoon Catholic Diocese, Mennonite Central Committee and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The project gives urban citizens the opportunity to become a farmer by sponsoring an acre of farmland in rural Saskatchewan.

As this was the first Grow Hope project in Saskatchewan, Guenther was excited to see it all finally come together.

“In this particular case, Grow Hope Saskatchewan, it’s a coming together of both the Saskatoon Catholic Diocese and Mennonite Central Committee. What we’re doing is inviting donors to sponsor acres that the farmer has donated,” Guenther said.

“So in this case, Nathan and Jeanette Janzen of Rosthern have donated these 90 acres to this project and donors are invited, both from the Catholic Diocese and also Mennonite constituency to sponsor the acres and those funds in turn go to the farmer for his input cost. And then when the farmer sells the crop from this field, those funds go to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank designated to either the MCC account or the Catholic account there.”

The Janzen farm was the field that the people in attendance visited and the donors who were at the event had the opportunity to see what exactly they sponsored.

Also, Quiring Farms designated 70 acres of their farm to the project, if more people want to sponsor an acre.

“We now have over 70 acres sponsored and by the end of the harvest season we would love to see all 160 acres that are available this year be sponsored. With the portion that the farmer provides and the government matches that would work out to about $400,000,” Guenther said.

There are other projects in which farmers donate their crop, but what makes this Grow Hope project unique is that it consists of people working together.

Nathan Janzen shows off his canola crop during the Grow Hope Saskatchewan field day

Even though this is the first Grow Hope project in Saskatchewan there are others in provinces across Canada.

“The Manitoba Grow Hope Project started four years ago,” Guenther said. “I think last year, Alberta and Ontario started their Grow Hope projects and this year we were ready to do it.”

When Klassen spoke at the event she said the MCC organization is close to her heart and she was glad to see people coming together for a great cause.

“There’s this image going around the internet these days that says ‘when you have more than you need, build a bigger table and not a higher fence.’ This is what we’re doing with Grow Hope, we’re reaching out rather than isolating ourselves,” she said.

Klassen also believes a person can’t achieve a goal without help, noting there were many people and partnerships that helped her have success in her Olympic career. She was glad to see people and organizations work together to make this Grow Hope Saskatchewan project successful.