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Foods Resource Bank Growing Projects a Success

Income from nearly 4,000 acres of crops grown in the United States in 2003 provided funding for developing countries across the globe, according to Norm Braksick, executive director of the Foods Resource Bank, a non-government organization headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich.  The Foods Resource Bank’s “Community Growing Projects,” in equal partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, donated a total of $1.6 million to help alleviate world hunger.

Food Resource Bank raises money to support food security programs in developing countries through “Community Growing Projects” in the United States. In these projects, local churches and businesses fund the planting, growing and harvest of crops pledged for the program, while farmers donate their time, expertise and equipment. At harvest, the crops are sold and the proceeds used to fund food security programs in countries such as Nicaragua, Honduras, Bosnia, Serbia and especially sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently, the Foods Resource Bank is providing funding for 21 programs in developing countries, including Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Pakistan.

The 4,000 acres of cropland pledged this year by 93 Community Growing Projects was nearly double the 2,155 acres pledged from 55 projects in 2002. The Community Growing Projects were located in 12 Midwest states stretching from western Pennsylvania to Nebraska, and Kansas to Minnesota.

Braksick also notes that 23 of the 93 projects were “twinning” projects, where an urban or suburban church or organization partnered with a rural church or organization to sponsor the project. These projects build appreciation and understanding between urban and rural communities, and appreciation among urban residents for farming and food supply. They also build awareness in both communities of the problem of world hunger.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided Foods Resource Bank a grant for organizational capacity building. For more information on Foods Resource Bank call (269) 349-3467, or visit its Web site at www.FoodsResourceBank.org.

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