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Harness the wind, cut world hunger

03/22/2012 @ 1:18pm

In rural Mozambique, cattle are a stepping stone to providing food security and stable income. But resources for establishing grazing clusters are scarce.

That’s where the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) and volunteers like Matt and Joy Kauffman of Tiskilwa, Illinois, play a role. The FRB, based in Western Springs, Illinois, uses funds raised by volunteers to help fund self-help programs in more than 30 countries, including Mozambique.

As shareholders who helped develop AgriWind LLC, a local community wind project, the Kauffmans were eager to find meaningful ways to share the first fruits from their newfound crop of wind energy.

Thanks to Matt’s brother and sister-in-law, Todd and Sherri Sears, the Kauffmans didn’t have to look far. The Searses, local farmers, also are shareholders in AgriWind and longtime supporters of the FRB.

Taking a cue from the Searses, the Kauffmans earmarked a portion of their wind energy income for FRB. When they launched their own community wind-development company, Stewardship Energy LLC, Matt and Joy began encouraging others to give.

“We started the matching grant through FRB to motivate giving,” Matt says. “Our company has set up an FRB wind-energy fund that will match up to $15,000 of funds received from landowners’ and farmers’ wind-energy payments.”

To participate, individuals simply earmark their contributions to “Wind Fund.”

Supporting farmers around the world is uniquely suited to FRB, whose founders include farmers and agribusiness owners. Along with individual and business donations, primary funding comes from some 1,000 U.S. farmers throughout 25 states participating in 201 growing projects, often communal.

“A lot of our growing projects are based around corn, soybeans, and wheat,” says Marv Baldwin, FRB chief executive officer. “But we’ve also got people who are selling eggs, goats, cattle, vegetables, and dairy products.”

The FRB helps marginalized people acquire the means to produce enough food to feed their families and to earn income for buying inputs. Program administrators are local organizations in each country and 15 humanitarian groups including major Christian relief agencies such as Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief, Mennonite Central Committee, and United Methodist Committee on Relief.

“We hope to help people improve their agriculture so they can grow their own food more effectively,” Baldwin says. “Of the world’s 1 billion poorest people, 70% are rural. Developing local agriculture and food security is a basis for helping people out of hunger and poverty.”

Now, thanks to the FRB Wind Energy matching grant, those who harvest the wind have a special incentive to share their earnings. “The wind knows no boundaries and neither should our vision of a world where all can know the hope of their hard work yielding a sufficient harvest,” Joy says.

Learn More

Matt and Joy Kauffman

joy@stewardshipenergy.com

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