Gardening for a Purpose

One of the initial commandments God gives humanity is to be responsible for the land (Gen. 1:28).  This responsibility is pertinent to contemporary society considering the current agriculture practices used worldwide destroy approximately 6 pounds of soil for each pound of food produced.[1]

The regions in which we serve (East Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and India) rely heavily upon farming or gardening for their sustenance.  Growing food in these countries is complicated due to lack of education, fear of experimentation, and inefficient use of land.  As a community who is concerned with the holistic development of human beings, growing food for sustenance is something we must address.  The people living in these regions are in need of education concerning more sustainable and efficient techniques for growing food, and subsequently there is a need for us within our community to begin learning and practicing these techniques.

One of the benefits of our movement's recent acquisition of land in Hopewell is the opportunity to participate in sustainable agriculture.  Sustainable agriculture is the practice of producing food in a way that ensures a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between people and the land.  It is estimated that by practicing sustainable agriculture, we only need 4% of the earth to produce food for the whole world.[2]

We have a responsibility to utilize the resources we have been given to meet our immediate needs as a community and to continue training for future ministry. The garden allows us to do both.  We experiment with techniques that produce food at high yield, with low expense on the environment and in a way that is obtainable for the people we serve.  Developing these skills equips us to have an approach to the agricultural needs in the respective regions we serve in.

More immediately, it is our hope that the garden and those who care for it will help supplement the food needs of our community.  Though we cannot supply for all our food needs, we are able to supplement our community kitchen with fresh produce that can help cut costs in the food budget and provide healthier, organically grown food.  In short, the garden provides us the opportunity to get our hands dirty and gain vital experience working out some of the concepts that we believe will empower the people we serve to live healthier lives.

Photos taken by Natalie Musche

[1] John Jeavons (How to Grow more Vegetables and Fruits Ten Speed Press: Berkely 2006) pg  xi.

[2] Bill Mollison, (Permaculture: A Designers' Manual Tagari Publicaitons: Australia 1988) pg 183.