The Fremont area Foods Resource Bank (FRB) Growing Project, in partnership with the John Deere Foundation (JDF) and local 4-H clubs, has been honored to have Lydia Breen (Ensley/Newaygo Co. 4-H) and Brendan Carroll (Grant Livestock 4-H) join them in “growing lasting solutions to world hunger.”
The purpose of this collaboration, new in 2014,is to encourage agricultural learning among 4-H youth and to teach them about the development work FRB carries out overseas to help reduce world hunger.
By taking part, the young people support small farmers in developing countries and, at the same time, learn how to raise food (meat and vegetables) here at home.
A generous grant from JDF makes it possible for young people to purchase inputs (animal and feed, or seed and fertilizer) for a 4-H project. Ideally, the grant involves youth who would otherwise have difficulty finding money upfront for a 4-H livestock or crop project, or encourages raising an additional animal to be auctioned at the 4-H fair for FRB. The Fremont growing project and the young 4-H participants raise money together for FRB’s agricultural development programs overseas.
Lydia has been an active 4-H participant, raising sheep and goats for many years, but had not had the opportunity to raise a steer. With the loan, she purchased a Hereford calf in January and, as she said, “I learned so much from this experience. This is my last year in 4-H, but next year I would like to help another ‘first time’ farmer learn about raising a steer.”
Brendan raised two lambs this year – Samson and Delilah – one for himself and one for FRB. “I enjoyed this partnership and want to do it again next year. I am going to encourage others to join FRB.
“This experience makes me think of that quote, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ That’s what FRB is doing with the money we raised with our animals: teaching good farming skills.”
Once they sold their animals at the 4-H livestock auction and paid back their initial loans, Brendan and Lydia shared 50 per cent of their profit with FRB through the Fremont area growing project, to be used for inputs and training in communities overseas that want to break the cycle of poverty and hunger. This year the project is designating its funds for use in FRB food security programs in Guatemala and Armenia
The Fremont growing project is deeply grateful to Renee Carroll, 4-H Program Coordinator of the MSU Extension Office, who served as the contact person between FRB and the youth. The project credits her with the success of this pilot program. Please call her office for information about the 2015 FRB/4-H program (231-924-0500).
By Beth Mooy, Fremont Area FRB Growing Project