Threads - Apr 2023 - Growing Hope

Two men speaking to each other

Manitoba — Apr 2023

Fichier audio

Listen in as our host Kyle Rudge talks to MCC staff, Michael Veith, Immaculate Nabisere and Wesley Ncube about their work with the Grow hope program.

Threads, formerly known as Word and Deed, was established in April 2007. It is a 15-minute radio program by KR Words featuring the work of MCC in Manitoba and around the world. Threads broadcasts on CFAM AM 950, CHSM AM 1250 and CHRB AM 1220 at 8:45 am on the first Sunday of the month.

Correction: In this episode the Grow Hope matching dollars were incorrectly given as $1,400, the amount is up to $2,500.

Audio Transcription:

Kyle Rudge (00:02):

It begins with a single thread, woven through other thread, and then another and another until we have a single piece of fabric. That fabric is stretched, cut and stitched together with another, just like it. This process is repeated over and over and over until we have a beautiful tapestry that all began with a single thread. Welcome to MCC Threads, where we look closely at how our stories in Manitoba weave together with the stories of MCC and its partners around the world.

Michael Veith (00:51):

And so that makes me really excited, that I can kind of anticipate that a little bit more and really be able to capture, you know, even better moments or just have an even more engaging interview and video overview of how the Grow Hope season went, to kind of really better show just the amazing, incredible work that all these farmers are doing and the good that it's doing.

Kyle Rudge (01:12):

Despite the massive amounts of melting snow last year, which created tenuous growing conditions for Grow Hope farmers, it was still an incredible year, with just over 360 acres sponsored. In past years, we've talked to farmers and to donors, but this year we're taking a little bit of a shift. Instead, we're engaging mostly with those at MCC that are behind the scenes to make Grow Hope work. These are the ones that are coordinating between farmers and community, the ones bringing the stories from one community to the next.

Immaculate Nabisere (01:43):

Hi everyone, my name is Immaculate Nabisere, and I am the engagement and stewardship coordinator and also the Grow Hope coordinator.

Wesley Ncube (01:53):

Hi, I am Wesley Ncube. I'm the constituents relations coordinator.

Michael Veith (01:59):

Hi, my name is Michael Veith. I'm the media and digital design associate.

Kyle Rudge (02:05):

Now, these are by no means the only three involved in Grow Hope, but it's the three that I managed to track down so I could talk a bit more about how Grow Hope works behind the scenes. What's unique about this team though is last year, it was the first year for all three of them working on Grow Hope.

Immaculate Nabisere (02:21):

Grow Hope last year was my first time actually coordinating it, and as crazy as it seems, it was my learning experience to go through Grow Hope. But it was, in my books, I would say it was really a success because we had so many wonderful donors who were able to donate to Grow Hope. And we had a total over 362 acres, which were sponsored, and we raised over $126,000, which was amazing and humbling for me to see that happen.

Kyle Rudge (03:03):

Neither Michael, Wesley, nor Immaculate grew up in the prairies or around Canadian farming culture. Michael grew up in China.

Michael Veith (03:11):

I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Macau, which is just about 40 kilometres give or take from Hong Kong on the southern coast of China. It's basically like an urban jungle. Give or take whatever metric you use, it's one of the most densely populated places on earth. You know, my connection to the space and nature would've been, you know, just the small parks that are there and very interesting kind of being thrusted into this like agricultural slice. And I, I feel like even though I've been here, you know, just past 10 years now, I feel like even particularly being in this job, and having these experiences of actually interacting with farmers, has just given me another lens to look at up close, you know, just the realities of, you know, where our food comes from and how the food system works and just the bigger realities of that.

Kyle Rudge (04:09):

Immaculate, on the other hand, grew up deep into agriculture, but in eastern Africa, and she has seen first-hand the benefit of programs like Grow Hope.

Immaculate Nabisere (04:20):

I grew up in Uganda, eastern Africa, and seeing people hungry. When a person joins the Grow Hope community, here in Manitoba or MCC, they are helping to transform lives of people not only, you know where I'm from, but people like Chim Yean and his wife in Cambodia. Chim Yean used to work tirelessly in rice fields for, you know, for other people who owned the land or he was borrowing money to make ends meet. When he joined Grow Hope with the help of MCC, he was able actually to have daily income and food to share with family because of your kindness. The money you give, it's transforming lives. I was able to see it when I went back home to visit and actually witness some of you know the impact your gifts are doing in transforming people's lives.

Kyle Rudge (05:30):

Grow Hope is a fairly simple concept. You know, you, me, us, we donate to the Grow Hope program by sponsoring an acre. An acre costs $350, which seems steep, but it's rather common for family or church groups to come together and sponsor several acres at once. That money is used to buy seeds, resources, et cetera. It's combined with the donated land, time and energy of some Manitoban farmers to grow a crop on that acre. Once harvested, the crop is sold, and the money is donated to food security programs through MCC and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. The maturing of the crop, the time invested, the government financial matches, means at the end, your $350 grows to approximately $1,400* in food security aid to those who need it. To mark the conclusion of last year's Grow Hope, Michael was responsible for crafting a recap video with all the interviews he took throughout the process. One interview stood out.

*$350 grows into as much as $2,500 in food security

Joseph Hofer (06:32):

My name's Joseph Hofer. I am assistant pastor in Greenwald community, and we basically, we started out just donating 40 acres to MCC, but have since transitioned that into the Grow Hope program. We actually liked that better.

Kyle Rudge (06:52):

Visiting the Greenwald Colony last year was the first time for both Michael and Wesley to ever visit a Hutterite colony.

Michael Veith (06:59):

I went to Greenwald

Kyle Rudge (07:02):

For geographic context, Greenwald Colony is approximately 30 kilometres north of Beausejour.

Michael Veith (07:08):

And once I got there when Joseph, (or I think he was by Joseph) he was our kind of tour guide there. And when he found out that I hadn't, (I think I was with Wesley too), either of us hadn't really been to a colony before. He decided to give us the, the whole tour showing us, you know, the dining hall, the new greenhouse that they're building.

Wesley Ncube (07:30):

Going to the colony. The first thing that strikes you the most is, the welcome. Very welcoming. The food is amazing. The experience is amazing because I hadn't, I had never been on a combine. Getting to the colony and being on the combine, spending the day harvesting some crop.

Michael Veith (07:53):

I didn't realize how, how high-tech it was. You know, they got all it all there, you know. And I think it's one of those things where I heard kind of anecdotally of the reality of, you know, people they listen to like podcasts or you know, audiobooks while, while on there, whatever. But I, I totally get it now in terms of it being all high-tech. Yeah, and I was definitely really taken by Joseph. The way he articulated it was very much coming from his deep faith in terms of loving and helping our neighbours.

Joseph Hofer (08:29):

What I like is that it includes other people. It includes more people and brings it, brings it in, brings them into the, the whole process of sharing and farming. And also they do their part in helping end world hunger and bring hope to the lives of other people.

Michael Veith (08:48):

I feel like a running thread through all of the kinds of interviews, was also just this natural response that they almost kind of need, in terms of what they have and seeing their plenty that they have maybe, that it's almost just a natural response for them to respond in this way, to be part of these projects. You know, I think one of the lines as well, from, I believe it was one of the farmers, was "We've just been given so much. It's the least we can do to give back." And I think that's kind of weaved into hope, that they have experienced these blessings as they would describe these bountiful kind of harvests, and they, and the hope that there will be some sort of continuity with that. There'll be some kind of continuing, and so, of course, that they have to, to others. And I feel like that kind of weaves in that hope being, and the giving, just being like a natural kind of response.

Kyle Rudge (10:02):

It's 2023. What's in store for this growing season? What are the hopes for this year's Grow Hope?

Wesley Ncube (10:10):

Well, the first one will be, unlike last year when I kind of like came into the role, the weather was something else. There was flooding, there was too much snow. The first part of it, I would love to see better weather for our farmers. The other thing I would love to, to see the continued relationships with the farmers as we grow to know each other even more and more better. That's, that's my hope.

Michael Veith (10:46):

This is just my, I mean, my job is kind of the design multimedia side, so I'm coming in through that perspective. Just going into it now, I remember my first interview, I kind of, I had no way to really contextualize what this interview or kind of this visit was a part of. And I feel like now after being kind of a year in, I kind of have seen the whole, the whole kind of Grow Hope project, Grow Hope season kind of in full and realize in the same way that, you know, these farmers are planting these seeds and they will eventually grow. Our Farm visits with them, maybe some of the video or the photos that I capture, will kind of grow into this, maybe this larger project, you know, this video that can be sent to all those people within and outside the MCC world, especially here in Manitoba, for them to know a little bit more about what this project is. And so that makes me really excited that I can kind of anticipate that a little bit more and really be able to capture, you know, even better moments or just have an even more engaging overview of how the Grow Hope season went, to kind of really better show just the amazing, incredible work that all these farmers are doing and the good that it's doing.

Immaculate Nabisere (12:15):

My hope would be to have more supporters to help us transform more people's lives. So seeing that last year we had 362 acres which were supported. I'm praying and hoping that we can actually maybe reach 460 acres this time around. Then it would mean that we'll be able to impact more people than we have this year. So I'm calling on all our supporters to continue supporting us and for our dear listeners, to know that there is still need for your support. There is still need for more acres to be farmed on. I know the love and kindness of people is tremendous, and I'm praying that it'll happen again so that we can help more people.

Kyle Rudge (13:11):

Supporting Grow Hope as an individual or as a group is easy. Head online to A gift of $350 sponsors an acre that can grow up to $1,400* in food security aid.

*$350 grows into as much as $2,500 in food security

Kyle Rudge (13:27):

[Music] But if $350 feels too steep for you, or you just like to do it within the context of a community or group or church project, calling Immaculate at the MCC Manitoba office is your best bet. She'll take the time to make sure that you are set up for success along the way.

Immaculate Nabisere (13:44):

You know me. I'm a gratitude person. I'm always grateful. I'll never stop saying thank you all to our supporters and let's make this year's Grow Hope another success. And may God continue to bless you and your families.

Kyle Rudge (14:05):

MCC Threads is produced by KR Words with story assistance from Jason Dueck and interview assistance from Michael Veith. Thank you to Michael, Wesley, Immaculate and Joseph for sharing your heart and the work you do to spread those seeds of hope. I'm Kyle Rudge, and this is MCC Threads.

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Grow Hope

You can join our community of local growers by sponsoring an acre!