Although it is rich in natural resources and arable land, Africa is the recipient of over 20 million tons of food aid each year. Hope Shares and the Seed of Hope South Africa are working to change that dismal figure by training people to use the land they have to produce viable, organic food crops. The process addresses dependency mindsets while helping farmers see that God has given them everything they need to provide for their families.
Over the past few months, there has been a flurry of activity in our Farming God’s Way strategy. Our demo vegetable gardens are back in production, and our demo maize (corn) gardens are about to be planted. The produce from the vegetable gardens goes to help support families in crisis, and the produce from our OPV (open-pollinated variety) maize will be set aside for seeding next year.
Our team has also grown. Sfiso Mthiyane and Zephania Mbuyisa, both graduates of our Farming God’s Way training, are passionate about teaching others. As residents of Bhekulwandle, they have a personal motivation to see their community transformed. I am mentoring them both – spiritually, and in Farming God’s Way. My hope is that they continue in their learning, one day becoming accredited Farming God’s Way trainers!
We are developing a “showcase” ¼ hectare plot of maize and sugar beans in Mdumezulu, a rural area inland from Bhekulwandle. The local chief has provided the land, and he is eager that many people in the surrounding area be trained in Farming God’s Way next year. He’s also indicated he’ll make land available for those who want to farm, but don’t have the land where they are living. We planted just over a week ago, and already green shoots are poking up through the rich soil.
We are in the process of getting all the Farming God’s Way resources – training manuals, DVD training series, etc. – translated into the Zulu language. The Trainers’ Resource Guide is 160 pages, and the DVD training series consists of over 7 hrs of training material on 3 discs. This is a huge project, but one we believe will provide us with an invaluable tool in impacting many thousands of people over the next several years.
We are making a long-term investment in people by:
– demonstrating that farming can be successful in their region
– rural communities can become economically vibrant
– faith in God just might have something to do with growing a bumper crop of beans and corn.
Article by Dan Wiens, Team Leader, Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Training at Seed of Hope Community Development.