Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Growing Project in Maryland engages six Brethren churches.

The kick-off of the 2008 Grossnickle, Md., growing project took place on April 13. This year's growing project is engaging six Church of the Brethren congregations in the Mid-Atlantic District--the Beaver Creek, Grossnickle, Hagerstown, Harmony, Myersville, and Welty churches--and possibly a United Church of Christ congregation. Growing projects raise food to benefit hunger efforts through the Foods Resource Bank and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

"We had a wonderful kick-off yesterday for this year's growing project," reported Patty Hurwitz of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren, who is a committee member for the growing project. "We sold 17 acres at $250 an acre plus a $1,000 donation from a family, all after church on Sunday!"

The Grossnickle growing project this season will benefit the Micro Devru program in the DR Congo. Its first-year overseas program focused on anti-hunger efforts in Kenya, and the second year the project focused on Zambia.

Each year, the Grossnickle growing project has held planting and harvest celebrations featuring food, dress, music, and stories from the recipient country. The kick-off event included a children's story about crops being improved by the Micro Devru project. "We planted seed peanuts, and talked about how that handful of peanuts might feed one person one meal, but the seeds would create food for many people," said Hurwitz. "I showed them a cassava root and they tasted cassava bread. We had a palm tree and talked about palm oil production. We had black-eyed peas, which are a cousin to cow-peas." Another committee member shared a report about the success of the Kenya Bamba project in 2006.

Other efforts that may be added to the initiative in Grossnickle include ideas for a pen-pal program for children to correspond with Congolese children or school groups, and ways youth and farmers can connect. "Real personal connections add so much to our work," Hurwitz said.

Sponsors of the project have invited Betty Rogers, who is assessing the Foods Resource Bank for the Hilton Humanitarian Award, to come to a planting celebration in May. The Foods Resource Bank is among a dozen or so organizations being screened for the 2008 award, which carries a prize of $1.5 million.

Several Brethren members have participated in meetings in which Rogers talked with Foods Resource Bank officials and growing project supporters--including Tim Ritchey Martin, Robert Delauter, and Patty Hurwitz of the Grossnickle project, along with Jim and Karen Schmidt from a growing project involving Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, and Global Food Crisis Fund manager Howard Royer and his wife, Gene.

Source: 4/23/2008 Newsline

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