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Grow Hope projects, organized by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, aim to bridge the gap between rural and urban people while also tackling the issue of world hunger. 

"One of the things we hear consistently from our supporters in rural Canada is that urban people - who of course make up the majority of Canadians today - don't know anything or not enough about farming," said John Longhurst, the director of resources and public engagement for the Canadian Food Grains Bank.

People living in cities are invited to sponsor acres which pays for inputs like seed and fertilizer. Farmers donate their time and fuel to plant and maintain the crops.

When harvest time arrives the sponsors are invited to visit the field or farm, which are usually within an hour's drive of a major urban centre, to meet the producer and ask questions.

"So that's a really special time because then it's not an issue about the farm, or farming, or those kinds of things; it's an actual chance for people to meet people, and that is such a special occasion," Longhurst said.

The proceeds from the sale of the crops are used to fund food-provision programs across the world and to train farmers to grow more and better crops. The proceeds can be matched up to four times by the federal government.

This year there are nine Grow Hope projects taking place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Each project chooses how to use the funds. Some areas of focus include the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Syrian refugees.

Last year this initiative raised more than $400,000 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and its programs.

"We realize that we can only do a little bit, but it's something that we can do to help bring urbanites and people in the country together over something that matters to all of us which is food and the crops that are grown to make that food, and especially in our case a chance then to provide help for those around the world who don't have enough to eat," Longhurst said.

Visit the Canadians Foodgrains Bank website to learn more about the Grow Hope initiative.

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