This summer holds many exciting prospects in the realm of sustainable agriculture for our organization. Last year was our “start slow, start small” year as we dug twelve 100 square foot garden beds, utilizing the bio-intensive gardening method. In this approach, the goal is to produce the maximum yield from the smallest piece of land. This year, we decided to expand to four times that size, bringing us to a total of 48 garden beds! Our desire is to eventually grow all of our own produce to service our community kitchen, which provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to the entire student body throughout the academic semesters.
While there is an increasingly trendy move towards “going green” in our generation, our desire to reconnect with the land is rooted in an ethic we have derived from the principles taught in the Word of God. In Deuteronomy chapter 28, Moses promises his community:
“The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground in the land that the LORD swore to your ancestors to give you. The LORD will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings.” (Deut. 28:11-12).
We have learned that true prosperity is that which comes through partnering with God and his ongoing act of creation. This is a tangible message of hope that we can bring to impoverished communities all over the world. Rather than teaching that prosperity is connected to a monetary system controlled by the powerful, we seek to embody the true blessings of God—which are all connected to the multiplication of life. In order to do this, it is imperative that we become highly proficient in the realm of agriculture. By providing education in the most innovative self-sustaining agricultural techniques, we will empower men and women to improve the health of their families and communities at large.
This empowerment via education is something we are already beginning to implement here and now. We have begun a 12-week “Global Gardening Seminar” where our own resident gardening experts will conduct a weekly class to educate those who desire a greater understanding of organic, self-sustainable gardening. The class will expose students to a very broad spectrum of ecological topics and concerns, while also weaving in the many rich theological connections that are so abundant in the Bible. Our hope is to ignite a passion in every student to reconnect with the land, that they too could experience the joy of partnering with their Creator by nurturing the fertility of the soil, bringing health and life to the community.