Fall is the time of year for harvest. Vegetables from the garden, seeds from the sunflowers, apples from the orchard . . . we have so much to be thankful for! That’s why it has never been more important to be good stewards of the creation God has shared with us.
Petitcodiac Mennonite Church in New Brunswick has worked together over the past nine years, gathering unused apples from orchards. They press the apples into cider, then sell it and donate the proceeds to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). CFGB provides food during times of crisis in the developing world. They help people grow more food and provide nutritional support to malnourished people, especially young children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
Sandra Bunnett, one of the coordinators, shares the reasons she’s involved in the project: “I believe little efforts matter. I enjoy being a part of a project that takes good food that otherwise would be wasted and, through a little effort and generosity, is able to make a significant difference for others who do not have the abundance we do.”
The operation has grown to include Millstream United Church. Millstream collects the apples and Petitcodiac organizes the production, borrowing a cider press from a local nursery. This year, a team of fourteen people helped in production, while many more made sure all of it sold. It’s truly become a team effort which, this year, yielded 210 2L jugs of cider to sell. They will donate about $1,000 to CFGB. The federal government will match this amount up to four times over because of CFGB’s famine response around the world, multiplying its impact.
Despite this impressive amount of cider, climate change is affecting the production of food worldwide. In 2018, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported that the growing season has become unpredictable. Perennial plants like apples, cherries and grapes are not getting an adequate period of chilling before they resume active growth. The variations in climate have affected the future development of these fruits.Thankfully, the Food and Agriculture Organization is helping farmers prepare by monitoring and reporting on these changes.
I believe little efforts matter. I enjoy being a part of a project that takes good food that otherwise would be wasted and, through a little effort and generosity, is able to make a significant difference for others who do not have the abundance we do.”
- Sandra Bunnett
To address climate change, we need to lower our carbon footprint on a personal and corporate level. We can also make a difference by using the harvest wisely— Petitcodiac Mennonite Church is doing just that.
The Hilliers have been helping gather apples for two years now. Rev. Hillier came to the area as an interim pastor with Millstream and they continued to return in the summers, returning home to Newfoundland after the apple harvest. Mrs. Hillier, an avid gardener, says, “It’s a nice time of year to be outside. I don’t feel like I do too much but it’s good to be part of it.” While it may feel like a small time commitment, there’s no doubt the impact is significant. And for a small congregation who consistently donates funds to CFGB, the impact is global.
With the monumental task in front of us of reversing and adapting to the effects of climate change, it’s important we all do our part. If Petitcodiac Mennonite Church has taught us anything, it’s this: working together, much can be accomplished.
Visit Canada Foodgrains Bank for more information
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2016 Second Edition. http://www.fao.org/climate-smart-agriculture-sourcebook/production-resources/module-b1-crops/chapter-b1-1/en/.