A display at St. Marguerite School in Spruce Grove draws attention to the division-wide project to support a poultry farm at a seminary in Nigeria.

A display at St. Marguerite School in Spruce Grove draws attention to the division-wide project to support a poultry farm at a seminary in Nigeria.

November 4, 2013
RAY CÔTÉ
SPECIAL TO THE WCR

The Evergreen Catholic School District is now sponsoring a fully functioning poultry farm in Owerri, Nigeria.

The venture which was proposed by Father Sabinus Iwu when he was serving at St. Mary Parish in Westlock is a partnership with Seat of Wisdom Seminary in Owerri.

The seminary is home for 500 seminarians from 10 dioceses and six male religious congregations, far more seminarians than in all of Canada. Many seminarians and ordained priests from the seminary are sent to Canada.

Iwu, a member of the Nigerian religious order Sons of Mary Mother of Mercy, said the idea for the poultry farm came up as a result of the increasing difficulty of feeding the seminarians and staff, and providing food to the larger community.

The major challenge is raising the $100 a day required to feed the 1,000 birds on the farm.

If the plan to work with Evergreen Catholic Schools is executed, the problem of provision of eggs and meat for the seminarians and staff of Seat of Wisdom Seminary will be solved permanently, he said.

In the long run, it is hoped the farm will also serve as a source of revenue for the seminary. Meat and eggs from the farm will be sold and will also help feed the needy in the community.

As well, there are hopes to purchase a tractor to cultivate maize which is the major raw material for the production of poultry feed.

HOUSE OF FAITH

Iwu, who is the agricultural administrator at Seat of Wisdom Seminary, wrote to express his gratitude, "Faith is the belief in things unseen. Faith itself is like a house. Under it, we shelter from the tribulations of life.

"A gesture of help towards those we have never seen is faith being demonstrated, as this gesture builds faith for all of us."

Iwu said it is God who brought together the school division and the seminary to establish a viable poultry farm. "It is God who has in his ways engineered the meeting of these two worlds from two different continents."

All Evergreen staff were involved in selecting the campaign name Green Eggs. The theme name is an appropriate one to which students of all ages can relate. It also plays on the district name.

Green Eggs further represents an acronym for God Revealed Everyone Everywhere is our Neighbour. Evergreen Catholic students and staff, Grateful for our blessings, Give generously to the Seat of Wisdom Poultry Farm.

Evergreen has Catholic schools in Devon, Hinton, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Westlock.

Superintendent Dr. Cindi Vaselenak revealed the name of the project and promoted this initiative during her address at the school division's annual Faith Development Day Oct. 11.

The project will enable the Catholic schools and the seminary to share their talents even though they are continents apart, Vaselenak said. "Evergreen's role is to fundraise to help finance the poultry farm. The seminarians' job is to work the poultry farm."

Rather than just sending money to buy food for a short period of time, this project involves a commitment to help the seminarians sustain a regular food supply for years to come, she said.

GLOBAL CITIZENS

"I think students need to know that part of our responsibility as global citizens is to help countries who don't have the resources we have," Vaselenak continued. "It is also important for students to learn what it costs to run and manage a farm in another country."

Every school in the district, as well as the division office, has embraced the venture, she said. "This year our division theme is Building Our House of Faith. What a great example of living our mission!"

"The project will also help realize Alberta's educational vision of developing students as engaged thinkers, and ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit," she said. "I really believe that our poultry farm initiative is a perfect example of a school division realizing the vision."

Vaselenak invited other school divisions interested in this or a similar partnership with the seminary to contact her at the Evergreen Catholic Schools division office.