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Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:30

Vauxhall’s foodgrains project raises more than $35,000 with annual pig roast event

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The Copperfield Colony contributed to the event cooking two pigs prior to the event. Here, they get ready to serve the food. The Copperfield Colony contributed to the event cooking two pigs prior to the event. Here, they get ready to serve the food. Photo by Ryan Dahlman

Despite a tough economy, the Vauxhall and District Growing Project for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank proved it had community support as more than 40 volunteers hosted an even more successful Barbecue and Pig Roast Fundraiser than they did last year.

According to Emmie Rijkens, one of the volunteers at the July 20 event, approximately 450 people took part representing the communities of Vauxhall, the M.D. of Taber, and the County of Newell. The event earned more than last year’s total of $26,000, raising more than $35,000 in 2016.
“We do our best and God blesses us,” explains head organizer Jan Bennen of the Vauxhall growing project prior to the event.
The money raised goes to the project. Costs have to be covered including rent for the land, input costs such as seed for the barley crop, insurance, fertilizer and pesticide, but Bennen says they are in the clear that way. Now, they just have to worry about the harvest.
As for the pig roast itself, Bennen says it’s a combined effort. They were really excited prior to the meal as there were more than 40 volunteers ready to help. Work that evening included overseeing a table full of donated items for the raffles; preparing 75 pounds of french fries and boxes of burgers; getting salads and fruits ready and of course serving two deliciously-prepared pigs courtesy of the local Copperfield Hutterite Colony.
Admission to the barbecue is by donation. Considering the donations at the door and the money purchased for raffle tickets, it was an impressive amount of money raised.
Bennen says while the agricultural community is behind the event and the project, people in Vauxhall and the surrounding area really treat it like an evening out.
“We’re not only trying to be a ‘farmer’ organization, and this being a farmer event, we want the whole community involved and they are,” he says of the barbecue and the numbers prove that. “Honestly, the money will come from the crops and financially the number of people participating is great, but involvement of the community is more important to me ... (it) brings everyone together.”
While he is officially the head organizer for the growing project, he definitely doesn’t take the credit. He is thankful there have been so many willing people to help along the way while he still runs his own large-scale potato operation north of Vauxhall.
There is a solid, active organizing committee representing a diversity of ages and backgrounds. Everyone helps through the various stages of planting, fertilizing, spraying and harvesting.
This year’s barley crop was planted in May with the land rented and an agreement worked out with Henk Kamper of Forty Mile Ventures. The Vauxhall project’s barley crop is on a quarter section close to the Highway 36 and Highway 526 junction.
“We have a good team around us. Our organization is including the next generation,” says Bennen who himself worked with long-time Vauxhall project organizer Henry Schulz. Bennen says at that time Schulz demonstrated how to lead and Bennen took over following Schulz’s passing.
The organizers are anticipating another successful harvest this year as long as the weather holds up and hail stays away.
Bennen says they have been blessed with the past success in Vauxhall with hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for Canadian Foodgrains.
Despite the solid organization, volunteer and community support, Bennen points to a sign hanging above his desk describing the main reason for the success in the field, both with his  own potato operation and the “Christian Response to Hunger” with the Foodgrains Bank.
The sign reads: “1 Corinthians 3-7: So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
“That’s what keep us going,” adds Bennen.

Read 8972 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:33
Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor