Catholic Farmers Make an Impact on Global Level

The following article, written by Shannon Philpott-Sanders, is shared with permission from "The Belleview Messenger," a Catholic newspaper for the Diocese of Belleview, IL.

When Fran Etter and her son Max had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador with Friends Across Borders in 2013, she didn’t know just how much the trip would impact her family.

“I was looking for more of a way to make an impact on a global level,” said Etter. “Having seen how our farming practices impact the world, I think that we have a duty to help.”

Mark and Fran Etter, parishioners at St. Felicitas in Beaver Prairie, found a way to make an impact at home.

The couple has set aside a section of their acreage for the Catholic Relief Services-partnered Foods Resource Bank and have enlisted the help of their farming neighbors Jim and Katie Buehne of St. Rose to do the same.

Etter was contacted by a Foods Resource Bank representative and she decided to look at the rural angle of global solidarity. This wasn’t her first experience with FRB, though. “I was introduced to FRB when I was a part of the Just Faith Program with partner parishes of the diocese,” she said. “I realized there are many issues globally we should be concerned about.”
“I like the idea of being involved in rural life,” said Etter. “My husband is a farmer and this is something he can be involved in, too.”

The Foods Resource Bank sponsors more than 200 U.S. growing projects, companies, organizations and volunteers to help people in developing countries grow their own food. The Etters and the Buehnes make an annual contribution of an acreage of profits each year to Catholic Relief Services, which is then funneled to the Foods Resource Bank program.

“We don’t have an official group at the moment, but I would like to encourage other farmers to get involved,” said Etter. “It takes a lot of individuals to grow this type of program, but if people spread the word, parishes and individuals may get on board to host fundraisers or encourage farmers to earmark some of their acreage.”

Etter already has plans to spread the word about the needs of the Foods Resource Bank. She will be sharing her story at an informational meeting for farmers in the diocese Feb. 10 at St. Mary’s in Mt. Vernon. The brainstorming meeting, sponsored by CRS, will focus on the farmer to farmer program and features speakers such as Etter and ag specialists.

For Etter, a teacher at Belleville West High School, the farmer to farmer program is a part of her family’s life. “It’s important work to keep me grounded and it keeps me connected to the rural lifestyle of farmers.”

01/10/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Tackling hunger, one seed at a time

For Darla Stewart and other Waverly First United Methodist Church members, a garden project has become a hands-on mission.

Stewart, an administrative assistant at the church, said the garden was planted this year to grow fresh food for the community and to raise funds for an overseas project through the Foods Resource Bank.

Stewart said the children who attend the church’s Sunday School program have been working on the garden to grow peas, lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. An acre of sweet corn was recently added.

This is teaching the children about charity, Stewart said. “It’s not just throwing money at something,” she said. “It’s actually doing mission [work] with their hands and their hearts to help others.”

05/11/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Homegrown help for those overseas

OTTAWA, Ill. — At a time when farmers’ bottom lines are feeling the bite of lower commodity prices, so are charities that benefit from the sale of farm commodities.“It makes a huge difference. It’s reducing what we can send,” Jerry Lundeen said. Lundeen is a board member of the Foods Resource Bank and the coordinator of its Somonauk Growing Project.

Foods Resource Bank is a Christian organization, based in Western Springs, that links urban and rural churches in growing projects that help people in developing nations grow and produce their own food. 

Once a year, different growing projects come together for a harvest celebration. At the Randy and Judy Rosengren farm near Ottawa, 28 churches representing the

10/30/2015 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

2014 Tour de Farms is a Grand Success!

On Sunday August 31, 150 bikers of all ages participated in the first FRB Tour de Farms hosted by the Western Springs/Mazon Growing Project. Biking about 12 miles total, participants toured the fields and farms of several Mazon farmers

09/02/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Foods Resource Bank Harvests Corn to Feed the Hungry


POLO (WIFR) -- The weather made for a good harvest this year allowing one group to raise a lot more money to help feed people around the world. 30 acres of corn on Polo, IL were harvested over the weekend to be sold to raise money for the Foods Resource Bank.

10/28/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Somonauk, IL - Aurora pastor hosts book signing for FRB at Harvest Celebration

SOMONAUK — The Rev. Jeffrey G. Mikyska of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Aurora, will conduct a book signing on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Foods Resource Bank Harvest Celebration in Somonauk. 

10/14/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Vine to Wine with FRB!


What started as a the pratical application from a vitaculture class thier son took in college, has led FRB friends and farmers, Doug and Deb Harford, to brainstorm a fun and interactive addtion to thier growing project. 

On September 7th they invite you to come and be part of the farm as they harvest the grapes in their local IL vineyard and make them into wine.

08/30/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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