More than 1,200 Iowa FFA members joined Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey to package nearly 228,000 Meals from the Heartland during the 2012 state FFA leadership conference April 22-23 in Ames.
The event, sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association with the support of Cargill's Iowa business region, was among the largest, one-time food packaging efforts ever organized by the Iowa-based Meals from the Heartland organization. The soy-based meals, packaged in less than eight hours, are being delivered to Haiti via the Convoy of Hope as part of a uniquely Iowa project known as "Special Delivery. Homes. Help. Hope. For Haiti."
The Special Delivery campaign, co-chaired by Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and ag secretary Northey, was launched last December by the Iowa Food & Family Project with the support of the ISA and Laurens-based Global Compassion Network or GCN.
In addition to the soy-based food packets, the Special Delivery initiative seeks to raise donations to the GCN by June 1 for the purchase of 48 "Safe-T-Homes" manufactured by Sukup Manufacturing Company of Sheffield in northern Iowa. To date, the GCN has received contributions totaling 34 homes. An additional 15 dwellings have been pledged.
"With leadership comes responsibility and Cargill is proud to partner with Iowa's soybean growers and others in providing high-quality soy protein to assist people in need," says Jim Reiff, general manager for Cargill, Inc. "We commend the leadership, dedication and volunteer spirit of the state's FFA members who stood shoulder to shoulder to make a difference for so many."
NEW Cooperative, Iowa Food & Family Project partner on agricultural advocacy
The Iowa Soybean Association also announced last week that NEW Cooperative, Inc., based in Fort Dodge, Iowa, has joined the Iowa Food & Family Project as its newest food and agricultural advocacy partner.
"We welcome NEW Cooperative to the growing group of partners who are committed to sharing information with people interested in healthy food and the integrity of the farmers, processors and retailers who provide it," says Aaron Putze, director of communications for the Iowa Soybean Association and coordinator of the Iowa Food & Family Project.
The goal of the Iowa Food & Family Project is to unite Iowans in conversations about food through personal engagement, advocacy and collaboration. It involves the support of more than 30 farm organizations, retailers, businesses and food-relief associations.
The Iowa Food & Family Project delivers on its mission by serving as "Presenting Sponsor" of the Iowa Games and supporter of the Live Healthy Iowa. The IF&FP engages Iowans by coordinating unique food and agricultural experiences at the Summer Iowa Games and at the Iowa State Fair. It also coordinates the FFA "Planting A Seed" Grant Program and the "Special Delivery. Homes. Help. Hope. For Haiti" campaign.
Effort to connect farmers and consumers, to create greater awareness and understanding
"Members of NEW Cooperative understand and value efforts that connect farmers and consumers and are eager to support the Iowa Food and Family Project and become involved in its activities," says Brent Bunte, NEW Co-op's general manager. "We're also hopeful our participation will encourage other co-ops across the state to join in supporting efforts that inspire greater awareness and trust of today's farmers and their commitment to providing wholesome food for everyone."
Putze says the Iowa FFP and NEW Cooperative, along with the other Iowa FFP food-advocacy partners, will work together to sponsor and conduct unique and timely communications and ag engagement programs across the state. NEW Cooperative, Inc. is a farmer-owned grain, agronomy and feed cooperative headquartered in Fort Dodge, Iowa. As a leading Midwest agriculture retailer, NEW Cooperative is focused on being an innovative and efficient provider of today's agriculture markets and services to over 2,600 members through their 21 locations in Iowa.
The Iowa Food & Family Project (www.facebook.com/foodnfamilies) is a purpose-driven initiative created by the Iowa Soybean Association and is dedicated to inspiring greater awareness, understanding and trust between consumers and farmers through dialogue and purpose-driven activities. For more information about the Iowa Food & Family Project and its activities, go to www.iowafoodandfamily.com.