Yes, it is possible to feed a family, a community, a group sustainably!
We have developed Sustainable Farm Management Plans. Step by step instructions on how to put together and manage a working farm that will be a self-sustaining unit, and be able to feed a family, a community, an organization, because it is completely scalable up or down; and be able to provide an income, if that is desired..
The main components of the plan are :
aquaponics (growing fish and vegetables together in an organic system)
alternative sustainable feeds for livestock (such as purslane, water spinach, duckweed, azolla, mulato II grass, black soldier fly larva, meal worms)
rain water management
planting/growing/harvesting/market farm production
Each of these components work together, but can also be chosen and tailored to create a plan to meet the specific needs of those implementing it.
We have experience in sustainable farming in the USA and Central America, and are working with groups doing work in Africa, Philippines, and Bolivia too. Farming does not have to take place in some vast open land. It can happen on a small scale on balconies, roof tops, yards in cities. It can happen in remote jungles, or arid savannahs.
Farming has been the subject of study and innovation. Yet we know through experience, that application of science and innovation can sometimes take the possibility of farming away from the willing hands of those modest means who farm for a living. “Successful farming’ has become the realm of wealthy and large cooperatives and businesses. We are passionate about bringing the science application of farming out to those who WANT the help with realistic methods and appropriate technologies that are within reach and truly sustainable for the family, the community that wants to support itself. Our experience has taught us that those families or communities that want help, and are after a hand up, and not a hand out, are those who can be helped. People with this mind set will be successful. Farming IS work. Rewarding work.
Do you know of an organization or community that is struggling to feed those within its care? Our family has been called to help feed the Lambs of the world. We are passionate about this calling. Who are the Lambs?
What is sustainable farming? –
Farm practices these days are ones that deplete resources. Each year $$ and inputs need to be brought in to keep the farm operational. Truly sustainable farming is accomplished so that it truly does support itself . Little to no outside resources are needed for the farm to be operational and successfully producing, once the components are in place.. To attain sustainability, there is a time period there inputs will need to be made to lay the foundation of the farm, so that it will be self-sustaining. This can be accomplished rather quickly, but can be more expensive in terms of chunks of time needed to devote to this accomplishment, and also upfront $$ may seem larger. But sustainability can be accomplished by moving into it incrementally too. Incrementally moving into sustainability needs to be planned too, and can be is less stressful in terms of chunks of time devoted to the project development and any $$ needed to begin the project.
What are a few examples of sustainable farming practices?
Growing your own feed for your livestock
Saving seeds to plant for the next crop
Vermicomposting to create natural super soils and fertilizers, foliar treatments
All these and more are part of the Sustainable Natural Farm Management Plans.
Any farm project can be a show-case, which also usually means a heftier price tag, but sustainable farm as a practice does not need to be a huge investment. Sustainability can be within reach of the poorest family, or community wishing to become sustainable. Use, re-use, recycle fits well in sustainable farming.
Why a Sustainable Farm Managment Plan?
Beginning with the end in mind smart for any endeavor, and so very true in Farming. Clear expectations/goals and the path to get there is key to success. This path, a plan, needs to be flexible enough to meet the needs of those it is intended to help, and yet sound enough to withstand the pressures of learning, environment and change. Here is another gem: “If you have no target, you will hit it every time.”
The Long Term Sustainable Management Plan Goal for us:
We are following the call we have to do this. We remain available to the Lord’s leading in this. We do consulting work for compassionate type ministry groups, helping them solve challenges with any aquaponics or farming/gardening pursuit they maybe facing. We will ‘go’ and do and teach and help install any of these farm management options. We will teach any of these subjects at seminaries in the USA or abroad, so students have a viable tent-making income as they pursue missions work. We will do the same in communities. We also will bring the Word of God with us.
Our passion is to help others help themselves. Help others help themselves and in turn help their neighbor. Our passion is to help a community to help themselves, and they in turn go out and help surrounding communities, beginning an exponential spread of help and increased health.
If you know of or work with a group , a community that needs sustainable farming/gardening management plans and/or help to carry them out, please contact us.
We will have this out in book form ready for purchase for those who wish, in English soon, followed by Spanish. The goal is that the management plan sales here will cover the cost of providing other plans to those in need in 3rd world countries who cannot afford to purchase the plans in book form. We are willing to work with groups/families/communities beyond a management plan book.
Case study – Why we will only help those who WANT it.~.AND.~.Why a management plan?
In the work we have done we have had the opportunity to speak with and work with different benevolent organizations. There are similar experiences, or frustrations, a common thread, shared. It is this. A benevolent entity is asked to provide goods or services with the intent that the management of the goods or services will be eventually managed by the recipients who requested them. The benevolent group does as asked, but then the goods or services go to waste because the recipients, for whatever reason (they are varied and many), do not follow through with good stewardship of what they have received.
We have seen this first hand with donated furniture trashed, school books and clothing piled in rat populated rooms rendered unusable. Benevolent groups bringing sports equipment and craft supplies only to see them strewn outside in the rain and on the drive (bus smashes them) the day after the group leaves. Tools donated only to find them ‘missing’ or broken due to careless use, or sitting out in puddles left in the rain when the ‘job’ was done. Sadly, good stewardship of resources donated to those in need is not always the case. My advice to those who do support entities such as 3rd world schools/churches/orphanages/benevolent groups, please do so with prayer and research. There is an experience I will share below, of an example as to why we are careful where we invest our time and resources now. This group will remain unnamed. But I want you to know that even though there are entities that are not good stewards of resources they receive, there are many, many who are very conscientious and transparent (with no creative book keeping) about this.
One of our experiences in the mission field was with a group that had no management plan. They were trying to feed people they were responsible for though. One periphery entity of this group asked us to create a management plan. Resource Management Planning was part of my Univ. course work and something I have used at various times throughout my professional career. I was pleased to be able to do this for them. This place had a few crops they tried to manage for years.. Here is an example: Spray the ground to kill vegetation. Plant corn. Harvest corm. Feed corn to livestock and those this organization supported. Spray ground to kill vegetation. Plant corn…This system had been going on for years. The life God created to work in the soil had long been killed. The water run-off from this sprayed area went in ditches local children played in, bathed in and out to creeks that watered local cows. The workers at this place told me of an area they could not get anything to grow (soil pit revealed good soil horizons, but damaged due to poor practices). They had pigs, but breeding was not planned. Feeding was poor and inadequate. No worming plan. The result was skeletal sows, bearing many dead piglets (you could tell when the sows were farrowing – the vultures all sat on the fence around the pens) . They were in muddy pens that had been used and not rotated since the beginning of time they had pigs. The meat from those pigs that did manage to survive were fed to those in the care of this organization. I shudder to think of the parasites passed along with the consumption of that meat. The pigs led a difficult existence, not because there was not enough $$ to provide for them, but because of lack of willingness to learn good management practices. This was all preventable with better management. In response to the request, we did develop a comprehensive sustainable management plan, including all the elements described at the beginning of this article. The challenge was that the entity that requested the plan and plan recognized the need, but unbeknownst to me, those who had the deciding power (the board) did not know we were asked to create a management plan and did not see the need to change any of their practices, but they admitted they were not knowledgeable in the realm of farming practices. When the time to present the plan to the board arrived, we walked into a ‘hornets nest’ unaware. This was a very bad experience. It was learning experience for us. I have to say I was (and struggle with ‘still am”) very disappointed in some people as a result of this.
Only work where we know (first hand) for sure the assistance is welcomed.
Even so, we recognize that we are still called to this work, and will forge ahead where God calls us with joy.