F.O.O.D. — Fields of Opportunity and Dreams — and the Food Resource Bank of Kalamazoo, Mich., completed another successful year in 2007 in Webster County. This program, a Christian response to world hunger, will be explained in an open meeting for all community members, clergy and farmers at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Corpus Christi Center Library, 405 N. Eighth St. This year’s project is located in Meki, Ethiopia, to improve the harvesting of multipurpose pulses — beans and peas — to enhance the people’s diet, integrate water resources and address the HIV AIDS program.
In 2006, nine farmers of Webster County joined the program by donating the use of their land. Again in 2006 and 2007, more than 20 farmers decided what acreage they could give and then they donated the gift only they can give, the use of their time, equipment and experience. At the same time all members of Holy Trinity Parish and community members were invited to help with the other expenses of seeds, fertilizers, herbicides, etc. Additionally, local agribusinesses, dealers, etc. were invited to grant good prices or donate inputs, effectively providing a vehicle for charitable giving that is directly related to their business interests and the community.
In November 2007, the farmers and community joined to celebrate the bounty of the harvest gleamed from the donated acres which resulted in $27,500. This profit was then directed to the Food Resource Bank which oversees the world distribution to 19 implementing agencies. One of these is Catholic Relief Service which is using the $27,500 to oversee the project in Meki, Ethiopia to provide assistance to the local farmers to secure the bean/seed supply, equipment, water supply and salary of the agronomist to ensure proper planting conditions. These farmers are then empowered to raise the crops to provide food for their families and the community as well as gleam profit for the other needs of their families.
Wayne McMannus, a Webster County farmer, and his wife Sara, joined the Food Resource Bank trip to Kenya and Ethiopia in August 2007 to observe first-hand the growing projects. They were able to meet the farmers, the agronomist, the project manager and observe the principles behind sustainable food security and integrated development. McMannus is available to share his experience can be contacted at 570-5377 and will be present at the Tuesday meeting.