Michigan farmers making a world of difference

This article was originally published in Michigan Farm News.

Over 20 years Michigan farmers have contributed more than $8 million to help hungry people around the world help themselves. In a world where more than 820 million people struggle with hunger and malnutrition, these farmers have stepped up to make a difference and grow lasting solutions to hunger in partnership with Growing Hope Globally.

Burt Keefer (pictured above at left), retired CEO of Cooperative Elevator in Pigeon, continues his philosophy of service to others as a Growing Project Leader with Growing Hope.

“My career in agriculture has been driven by the idea that all people deserve to have enough food,” he said.

Growing Hope Globally works with 13 Christian international development organizations and their local partners to fund food security programs that provide training on sustainable agriculture, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation, access to water, seeds, land and more, said Rachel Conley, associate regional director for Growing Hope Globally in Michigan.

Each program is tailored to meet local needs.

In addition to improved food security, Conley said the program builds community leadership as people come together to learn from each other. Growing Hope Globally has already helped 2 million people increase yields, improve health, build communities and grow lasting solutions to hunger.

“This life-changing work would not be possible without the support of communities in the United States,” Conley said. “Growing Hope Globally partners with farmers, churches and agribusinesses through community Growing Projects. Together, they grow crops, raise animals or do other activities to generate funds.

“The whole community has the opportunity to get involved,” she continued. “Farmers till the land or raise the animals while businesses, churches and individuals cover the input and land costs so that, when sold, the entire profit can be used to support the Growing Hope program(s) of their choice. With each one doing their part, the impact is multiplied beyond what any individual could do on their own.”

There are currently 24 Growing Projects across Michigan working to make a difference in the lives of hungry people around the world.

LaRaine Salmon of Nutrien Ag Solutions, who serves as a Growing Project leader in Moline, said even though she hasn’t been able to serve as a missionary overseas, her involvement still allows her to serve and help others.

Farm communities here in the U.S. are helping people like Dineswr and Sangita, a Nepali couple who had no land and eked out a living as day laborers. Through a Growing Hope supported program, they now have become successful vegetable farmers and are able to purchase land.

Or like Douglas, a Nicaraguan farmer who said, “It would be less work if people shipped me corn, but what if they were no longer able to? It is good to receive training because then it is mine and I’m not dependent on someone else.”

If you want to be a part of growing lasting solutions to hunger, contact Rachel Conley at (616) 283-0694 or rachel@growinghopeglobally.org.

« Return