Golfers who come to Riverrun Golf Club in Truro, Nova Scotia, looking to practice their swing at the course’s driving range are in for a surprise this summer.
A field of corn has taken over the driving range.
But it’s not just any field of corn. It’s a six-acre field of corn that, after being harvested and sold, will have its proceeds donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and used to help make a difference for people who are hungry around the world.
“We are extremely excited about this new project,” says Greg Jones, who along with his wife, Carol, owns Riverrun Golf Club.
“It doesn’t really make sense from a business perspective, but the little bit of revenue from the driving range seemed insignificant to what it could provide.”
The change from driving range to corn field didn’t happen overnight.
Greg is a Chartered Professional Accountant who has volunteered twice to travel with a team of Foodgrains Bank accountants to perform financial reviews of Foodgrains Bank partner organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Cambodia and Laos. He is also a member of Immanual Baptist Church in Truro.
“I had been looking for an opportunity to serve in some sort of Christian capacity, and the opportunity to use my skills as an accountant to help out the Foodgrains Bank was a perfect fit,” he says.
What Greg saw on these trips and the people he met touched him deeply.
“It’s one thing to read stories about what’s happening in these places, but it’s another thing entirely to actually go there and see the need that exists firsthand,” he says.
He initially thought that’s where his involvement with the Foodgrains Bank would end.
“I never thought I’d end up doing a fundraiser,” he says.
But one day he was looking at the driving range and “a light went on in my head. There’s a lot of people passing by the driving range. There’s the golf course on one side, and a walking trail on the other side.”
He realized it would be the perfect place to both raise money for a cause he cared about, as well as raise awareness about global hunger.
It cost Greg about $300 for seeds and inputs for each acre. At the end of the growing season, he will sell the crop for about $650 an acre—more than twice the initial investment. He has invited people to sponsor an acre or part of an acre and then to see their sponsorship double.
“Carol and I are thrilled to partner with our community in this way,” he says. “Any size of donation is welcome, not just a full acre, and we look forward to watching the crop grow together.”
Ian MacHattie is Foodgrains Bank co-coordinator in Nova Scotia. For him, Greg’s donation of his driving range is humbling.
“For a golf course owner to give up their driving range is more than just a donation—it’s a sacrifice,” he says.
The reaction of local golfers and the surrounding community has been overwhelmingly positive so far, adds Greg, noting that people were quite surprised with what they’ve been seeing.
“They all want to know what’s happening, and why we want to do this.”
He’s glad for the way everything has come together so far.
“Neighbouring farmers have volunteered to do things like spraying and seeding the crop. It’s amazing how quickly this project has come together.”
To sponsor an acre or find out more information on getting involved, contact Brenda Leenders and Ian MacHattie, Foodgrains Bank Co-Coordinators for Nova Scotia at (902)897-8145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and their other programs, visit foodgrainsbank.ca/