Harvest of HOPE Story – Bayer Group
Food security is a basic human right. Guelph has the means to ensure that everyone has access to healthy food for their families; however, people in our community are having to choose between feeding their family healthy food or more cost-effective food that does not necessarily provide the nutritional benefits that are needed in order to fuel their bodies and minds.
Led by Allan Kaastra, Harvest of HOPE is a 4 acre garden used to supply fresh produce to our Food Market throughout the summer and fall months. The market allows for members of the community experiencing poverty to shop on a bucks-based, choice-based system set up much like a low-cost grocery store.
As an employee in Bayer’s Crop Science division, Allan saw an opportunity to use some fallow land on the research farm in an innovative way. Utilizing the experience and expertise of his colleagues, he has been able to establish a range of vegetable crops for the program which has evolved over the last four years.
“We started with a crop of sweet corn, and are now providing summer and winter squash, beets, beans, potatoes, peppers and pumpkins,” he shares.
Each year, volunteers harvest more than 50,000 lbs of fresh produce, and because we cannot use it all, the surplus is donated and delivered to other local service providers through our HOPE in Motion delivery vehicles. This ensures that people accessing different service points throughout the city can get good-quality, farm fresh produce.
Volunteers with the program range from Bayer Group employees, local community members, corporate groups, and those who wish to give back based on their positive experiences as members of the HOPE House community.
“Being involved with this project and watching it grow has been an incredibly rewarding experience,” says Allan.
Harvest of HOPE is a program made possible thanks to the Bayer Group and their support of employee-led volunteer projects that make significant contributions to their communities.