Kernels of Hope Seeks Additional ‘Virtual Farmers’

NORQUAY, SK (May 10, 2010) – “Virtual farmers” are being sought for the 2010 Kernels of Hope project to help people in Sudan develop sustainable agriculture.

Farmers in three Canadian provinces grow wheat and canola crops on a portion of their land set aside to be “purchased” by virtual farmer donors who pay the costs of rent, seed, chemicals, insurance, and custom work.

When the crop is sold, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) matches the grain sales revenue on a four-to-one ratio to reach the final donation amount. That money is then distributed to the intended recipients through the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) and World Relief Canada (WRC).

Farmers donate their time for the project, which is operated on behalf of the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada. The program has been highly successful and raised $325,000 last year.

Since its inception in 2005, the project has raised more than $535,000 in relief and development funds for sustainable agriculture in Africa. The farmers raised $69,000 the first year.

“We are keying on improving nutrition – especially for babies, children and mothers – and are also supplying farming tools and seeds along with fishing equipment,” says Ray Baloun, who directs the project. “Anywhere in the world, a main goal of people is to be able to support your own family. We are enabling many people to do just that.”

The average cost to seed an acre of crops is estimated at $200 an acre this year, according to Baloun.

Those desiring to support the program can mail checks made payable to the Evangelical Covenant Church of Canada, P.O. Box 34025 RPO, Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5.  “Kernels” should be written on the memo line.

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