Free Spuds Raise Agriculture Awareness

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Gordon Visser, a member of First Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta, recently put 100,000 pounds of potatoes up for grabs to citizens who were willing to dig for them.

Visser, owner of Norbest Farms, said he was happy to give away $20,000 worth of potatoes. “People need to see what we are doing up here and what it is worth to them in the long term.”

Nearly 10,000 people turned out to dig potatoes, creating a traffic jam on a major highway. Each person was given a reuseable bag to harvest their 50 pounds of potatoes after Visser’s son, Matt, turned them over with the tractor.

“I wanted to give a voice to local food and to the need to start eating more locally. I wanted to do something that would make a bunch of noise and get the attention of the decision makers about this pocket of great agricultural land right in the city,” said Visser. “God was there, no doubt about that. The weather was great, and it really exceeded my expectations.”

Visser’s daughter, Sarah, 15, worked the whole day as well. “It was amazing to see people just sitting in the dirt, feeling the dirt like they had never done that before,” she said.

Visser worked on the event with the Edmonton Potato Grower’s Association and the Greater Edmonton Alliance, a broad-based citizens’ organization.

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