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Have You Thanked a Farmer Today?
The new Food Resource Bank T-shirt inspires Dulce Gamboa, who had an opportunity to thank many farmers at the FRB annual meeting.
by Dulce Gamboa
Well, I hadn’t had the chance to thank a farmer until I read the slogan on a Foods Resource Bank (FRB) staff T-shirt last Saturday during the FRB annual meeting in Kidron, Ohio. Thankfully, I was in a room full of farmers! It was a good reminder about the key role that they play in our daily lives.
The Foods Resource Bank connects farmers locally and globally as a Christian response to end hunger. Through community growing projects, FRB members and volunteers raise money in the United States to sustain agricultural projects overseas. The model is straightforward: farmers support farmers.
At the FRB annual meeting, farmers talked about the challenges of small-holder agriculture. Arlyn Schipper, from Iowa, explained common problems, such as excess or scarcity of water, soil erosion, and price volatility.
This year Arlyn is praying for rain on his own land. He needs five to seven inches of rain to maintain his cattle and crops, but so far has gotten only around three inches. Arlyn stressed that he will be okay even if he doesn’t get more rain, thanks to his insurance. But farmers in developing countries don’t have the same support. That is why the FRB partners with 15 organizations, like Catholic Relief Services and the Mennonite Central Committee, to make sure that small-holder farmers around the world have access to credit, new technology, and best farming practices.
Arlyn’s efforts on behalf of fellow farmers extend to Washington, DC. He has made Heart of the Hill visits to the nation's capital. This joint effort of FRB and Bread for the World fosters interaction between farmers and their members of Congress. These visits delivery two strong messages at the core of the FRB: local ownership increases the sustainability of agricultural projects overseas and U.S. farmers support an increase in productivity and sustainability by all small-holder farmers.
For example, during the FRB annual meeting, Rory Lewandowski, a Wayne County extension agent, talked about his work in Central America, where he has been working side by side with small-holder farmers. From earning their trust to implementing and adapting the latest technology under challenging environments, Rory is living proof of what farmers are doing now to end hunger in our time.
Dulce Gamboa is a project coordinator for the church relations department at Bread for the World.
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