I have spent over 20 years working in agriculture and community development overseas. My family and I were blessed to be taught and mentored by some wonderful friends and leaders who showed us how to be involved in what we loved (agriculture and health care ministries) while helping people spiritually.
I learned a lot during those years. Lesson one, I learned I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was, especially when I first left the USA to travel overseas. I discovered that even the poorest of the poor farmers in Asia knew how to survive (and in some ways thrive) on meager resources where I couldn’t. It didn’t take long for me to see that I had agricultural knowledge to contribute to those in need, but I also had a lot to learn. My western views and approaches to agriculture needed to be tempered by the situations, cultures, and traditions of the people I was called to work with. I had grown up farming and even had a postgraduate degree in agriculture, but my first order of business was to learn from those who had gone before me and, even more importantly, learn from those whom I was going to “help.”
Over time, as I learned to become a student first, I was blessed to witness some incredible outcomes and many lives made better through working partnerships. I’d like to share my five favorite agricultural projects I’ve been a part of over the years. I’ve chosen each of these because they have been truly helpful, were innovative yet simple, and, most importantly, they were adapted and adopted by farm families.
I don’t present these projects as prescriptive or guarantees of success. However, I am highlighting them as examples of successful partnerships with positive outcomes in terms of physical and eternal needs.
Here are my top five, each of which I’ll tell you about in the following posts…
- Long-Eared Goats and Baptists
- FAITH (FoodAlways in the Home) gardening
- How to farm your hillside without losing your soil
- Reforestation: Saving the world one tree at a time
- Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick-chick