Ary Vreeken is Alberta’s new representative for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
Vreeken had been teaching community development at the University of Calgary’s faculty of social work and has an extensive background with humanitarian organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, World Renew and the Foodgrains Bank itself (including a stint as international program director from 2007-09). He has some direct Canadian farming experience and has also spent years working with agriculture development in Niger, the Foodgrains Bank said on its website.
Vreeken succeeds Andre Visscher, who passed away suddenly in April at the age of 67. Visscher had been a Foodgrains Bank rep in the province for 12 years.
The organization has more than two dozen growing projects across Alberta, in which community members raise and harvest crops that are sold, with the federal government matching the funds raised on a three-to-one basis.
Ottawa also recently announced that it is giving the Foodgrains Bank $10 million for programs focusing on emergency responses.
“This support from the government is a welcome response to the current crises — 41 million people are currently at risk of falling into famine, meaning famine-like conditions are already visible,” executive director Andy Harrington said in a release.
Last year, the world experienced the single largest increase in global hunger ever recorded, the organization said.
In its latest fiscal year, the Foodgrains Bank provided $49 million of assistance for 989,000 people in 33 countries.