Scott County Farmers Give “Hand Up” for Sustainable Farming
It’s common for local farmers to come together at harvest time and help out their neighbors in need. What makes a group of Scout County farmers unique is that they come together each fall and combine for the benefit of farmers across the globe.
Bob Braden heard about Foods Resource Bank (FRB), a non-governmental humanitarian organization committed to providing food security in developing nations through sustainable small-scale agriculture production projects.
Feeling called to make a difference, Bob passed along the information to the congregation at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Long Grove. He felt God nudge again, so Braden talked with more members of the community whom he thought might feel the same way. A committee was formed, and together they started a growing project called “Hearts to Harvest.” Today 10 committee members participate from both St. Ann’s and Faith Lutheran Church in Eldridge.
Hearts of Harvest consists of 40 acres, which produces a crop of both corn and soybeans each year. All proceeds from the crops go to projects that help poverty-stricken families in third world countries feed themselves with assistance from the FRB. The FRB assists with everything from providing seed for community gardens and getting farmers the tools needed to installing drip irrigation.
“Despite the challenges we might face, our growing project has had tremendous success,” says Braden, president of the Hearts to Harvest LLC. “We feel a sense of achievement working together to achieve a common goal of helping hungry people in developing world have the dignity and pride that comes with feeding themselves.”
“We’ve been truly blessed with such by such a caring and giving community,” adds committee member and Latham® seed dealer David Boeding. “We would like to thank everyone for your past support and prayers. So many companies and individuals come together to support our annual project.”
You can help, too! Simply donate $25 to sponsor one row of corn, which will help since Hearts to Harvest rents a 40-acre parcel to provide funds for the FRB.
Each year after harvest, members of the Hearts for Harvest board gather to choose the sustainable projects to which they’ll donate. Past Hearts for Harvest-sponsored projects have included:
|2013||Honduras-Neuva Frontera – funds helped create cement ponds to capture water that could be piped into homes.|
|2012||Kenya-Kitui – funds were used to increase food availability and increase water resources.|
|2011||Liberia Rural Counties – funds were used to increase agricultural productivity and reduce malnutrition. Female head of households were targeted to develop home gardens.|
|2010||Tanzania – Dodoma – funds helped develop and implement community-based water provision systems. Sand dams and tree nurseries were built. Local farmers were trained in agricultural techniques and technologies related to food security.|
|2009||Liberia Rural Counties – this program supports agricultural and animal components as part of a wider program that includes water and school aspects as communities resettle after 14 years of war.|
|2008||India Chattisgart – funding was used to train and educate farmers about increasing crop yields and, in turn, increasing their profits to help feed and educate their families. Funds also were used to construct and repair water resources in six communities.|
|2007||Bosnia – Bosansko Grahovo – projects were funded in small Bosnian Village that was devastated by war. Funds were used to help local farmers build a milk buying station that met health standards to ensure milk quality.|
|2006||Kenya Africa – funds helped farmers produce more grain and open doors for improving nutrition with meat, milk and eggs. Farmers were provided with access to fertilizer and learned how to produce their own maize, amaranth and soybean seeds to enhance plant performance.|
In honor of the work done in the developing world by Foods Resource Bank, today we’re sharing a traditional Tanzanian recipe for Braised Cabbage. Visit your local Farmers Market and gather the ingredients needed to try this at home!
- 1/2 cup Bermuda Onions (purple), chopped finely
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- 2 oz. Oil or Margarine
- 2 lbs Cabbage, cut into 1-inch wedges
- 1 cup Beef Stock (or 1 cup water & 1 bouillon cube)
- In a 3-quart saucepan, Sauté: 1/2 cup finely chopped Bermuda Onions (purple)
- 1 tsp. Salt & 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper in 2 oz. oil or Margarine until soft but not brown.
- Add 2 Ibs. Cabbage cut in 1-inch wedges.
- Sauté lightly until cabbage begins to lose its crispness.
- Add 1 cup Beef Stock (or 1 cup water and 1 bouillon cube).
- Correct the seasoning to your taste.
- Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Serve in a 2-quart bowl.