When farmers near Monkton, Ontario, brought together 120 combines to harvest 160 acres of soybeans, they didn’t break the speed record for harvesting, as they’d hoped. But they scored a win that mattered most: raising $1 million to combat hunger.
The farmers took part in the Harvest for Hunger, organized by five Christian Reformed farmers to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB).
Christian Reformed World Relief Committee is one of 15 member agencies of CFGB and will receive a portion of the funds for its East Africa drought response.
120 combines line up to harvest 160 acres of soybeans.
The farmers harvested the soybeans in 11 minutes and 43 seconds—only 35 seconds longer than the current record. Almost 4,000 spectators and 300 volunteers turned out for the mammoth event
Organizing committee chair Randy Drenth of Bethel CRC in Listowel reflected on the harvest, saying, “We truly saw how God is in control of all things. His hand guided us, directed us to the right day. And whenever we were faced with an obstacle, God provided a solution. It truly was a celebration of what we can all bring to the table.”
North Perth mayor Julie Behrns echoed Drenth’s sentiments. “We’ve found a way to share our bountiful harvest with those less fortunate,” she said.
Aided by strong community support—including donations of time, land, seed, fertilizer, and the auction sale of the soybeans—the farmers raised $250, 000, which will be matched 4:1 by the Canadian International Development Agency.
The harvest event was postponed twice because of rain. Harry Mulder, who helped with the harvest, said, “This is a challenging year to do this . . . [but] it’s a great cause, and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
John Katerberg, from Palmerston CRC, has participated in the Palmerston Growing Project several times, but was also excited about driving a combine in the Harvest for Hunger.
“The spectacle of this event isn’t something you'll see again in my lifetime,” he said. He and his sons participated to “draw attention to world hunger and help get the job done.”
Maaike Magel was one of the thousands who came out to watch. “It’s wonderful to see this kind of community support for such a good cause,” she said.
It seems that all would agree that, while a new record was not set, the Harvest for Hunger was a success in all the ways that matter.
About the Authors
Kristen deRoo VanderBerg was part of the World Renew Communications team from 1999-2016. She now serves as director of Communications & Marketing for the Christian Reformed Church.
Anita Brinkman is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Chatham, Ontario.