Lessons from a Plentiful Harvest: A Grower’s Update

Antonio is diligent in his work. The garden’s abundance testifies to his experience as he learns God’s word and lives a life in service to others.

Antonio is diligent in his work. The garden’s abundance testifies to his experience as he learns God’s word and lives a life in service to others.

Antonio Mejia has been farming for much of his life. Upon joining with our organization, he began to collaborate with our growers here in Nashville to start a garden on our El Salvador campus and expand the variety of crops he grows, as well as the methods he uses to do so. While he was skeptical of these new methods at first, the report we are bringing to you comes from a farmer confident in the techniques he is now actively employing and sharing with others! Antonio reflects on the growth he sees on the day to day, and recognizes that this food will nourish families with the variety and abundance of whole foods that their bodies were intended to receive.

“Hello friends,

The last few weeks have been filled with much work and many blessings in the garden, as we have been learning a lot. We have newly planted the following: eggplants, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce and beetroot, with excellent results. We’ve obtained fruit from some of them, in particular the lettuce, which has grown more than we normally see - I don’t know if it’s our variety, but they are very large. The eggplants are also growing very strong, with a lot of foliage, in addition to the cabbage, of which we produced two beds full.

I am learning a lot about my plants personally, because of the observations I make about every four days. Through these observations, I can see their evolution. One of the things I love to see is how the plants grow, develop, and adapt to the environment each day. It’s great to see that our efforts result in good fruit.

Interns Miguel, Willian and Amilcar work to “cook” compost to improve the soil of the garden. Composting was not a familiar concept to Antonio at first, but now that the beds have had time to “cook” and he’s used the soil to grow food in abundance, he’s a firm believer!

Interns Miguel, Willian and Amilcar work to “cook” compost to improve the soil of the garden. Composting was not a familiar concept to Antonio at first, but now that the beds have had time to “cook” and he’s used the soil to grow food in abundance, he’s a firm believer!

We have some drainage problems, but our garden team tries to solve them by diverting the water through channels in the middle of the beds, in the area where we walk. That way the water doesn’t go over into the beds. We’ve been keeping track of our daily work, and recording data from the vegetables we have grown. It’s a good way to keep track of what is being done, as we look to the future.

Another area we’ve been working in is composting. This was difficult at first because we weren’t used to this type of work, but as a result of learning and perfecting the technique, we now have 300 pounds of compost that we have already started using in some beds. We have 5 more batches cooking. We will continue to work on this, to reinforce our knowledge.

Recently, we have been helping Lorena’s [Antonio’s wife] mother and my sister in the small gardens they have, as they’ve asked for help in this. They are dealing with some health issues and in addition to helping them, we saw an opportunity to start rehearsing our new vision for the garden of the future. We are also testing how plants adapt to different soil. It has been a good experience, and will help others in the future.”

Antonio concluded his update with a note that he and his agriculture team have been compiling simple videos and brochures to educate others in their community on topics such as composting, minerals in fruits, the need for healthy food, etc. Pray for them as they continue in this effort of both being educated and educating others in the process of growing healthy food!