Steve Breum started the Alberta Farm to Food Bank campaign
By Diego Flammini
A vegetable producer from Pigeon Lake, Alta. helps those less fortunate by donating his harvests to local food banks.
Steve Breum, who owns three acres he called Gone Green Farms, donated 10,000 kilograms (22,046 lbs.) of root vegetables to the Calgary and Edmonton food banks last week. The donation included 5,000 kg (11,023 lbs.) each of carrots, potatoes and beets, as well as other vegetables.
And he plans to donate a similar volume of produce this week.
“We’ve probably got another 15,000 kg (33,069 lbs.) here ready to go,” he told Farms.com.
Breum’s generosity comes from the Alberta Farm To Food Bank initiative he started this season. He collects monetary donations to cover production costs and donates his harvests to local food banks.
The donations help him expand his operation as well as give back to the community.
“We’ve been running a small market garden and were looking for ways to do some different things,” he said. “The idea came to us to grow root vegetables by thinking about what my grandma and grandpa survived on. I figured they would’ve had vegetables that were easy to grow and that could be stored long term.”
The community has shown its support for Breum’s initiative.
One message on the Pigeon Lake Facebook page inspired a handful of volunteers to come to Breum’s farm to help with harvest.
“It was pretty awesome to have people come out,” he said. “For three days, we had seven or eight volunteers each day give us a hand. It was great to see the community come together to help the food banks.”
The loads of vegetables destined for the food banks this week will be Breum’s last for the season. But he’s already thinking about how to include other farms next year.
“I’d like to get to a point where it gets too big for us and other farms can contribute too,” he said.
The food banks are appreciative of Breum’s generosity.
The Calgary Food Bank reached 184,548 people and distributed 90,864 hampers last year, the organization’s website says.
Donations like Breum’s can go a long way to helping families receive quality food, said Shawna Ogston, a spokesperson with the Calgary Food Bank.
“Any time someone donates produce to us, it helps us get those perishable items into hampers quickly,” she told Farms.com. “We distribute an average of 300 hampers per day, and families that receive the hampers know they’re getting fresh, quality delicious food.”
Steve Breum/CBC photo