We’re Growing More than Crops
It’s still a bit chilly to think about gardening, but it’s been on our minds all winter. Now, gardening, isn’t quite the same as farming, but the simple act of planting a seed has the same result.
AgriStewards has been consistently teaching farmers in developing countries about soil conservation and proper farming practices. In fact, Brian Smith is in Kenya right now, working with the Farming God’s Way program. We’ve been to 13 countries and the outcome for these farmers is so encouraging to witness.
Branching Out with Str8 Up
Last fall we were approached by an Indianapolis-based organization called Str8 Up Ministries who knew of our Farming God’s Way program and wondered how that could be scaled down to work in an urban garden.
Now, raising carrots and peas is a bit different than growing corn and soybeans, but we certainly wanted to explore this opportunity. Recently, I attended a day at the State House where the conversation included the very real issue of food deserts within our capitol city. A food desert is an area where residents don’t have easy access to stores that sell fresh produce and meats. Residents in these areas only have the corner convenience store and end up relying on snack foods and other over-processed products that lack nutritional value.
The goal of the Str8 Up organization is to not only raise a good garden, but to use it as an activity and outlet for the urban youth they serve. Urban gardens in other states have shown to be a valuable neighborhood tool, providing education to residents on how they too could grow food in their own backyards, creating farmer’s markets which helps everyone have access to fresh food, and teaching responsibility and skills to those who work in the garden.
We’ve been actively planning with Str8 Up and other volunteers to begin this program this summer at a plot at 64th and Michigan on a site that used to be a summer camp. While the overall site is 26 acres, we will start with a much smaller plot, around ¾ of an acre.
Last fall we began tilling the soil, adding compost and gypsum while we spent the winter months in planning meetings.
We’re excited about this new venture and all the possibilities that will grow right along with the garden. It’s also a great way for someone who may not venture to Kenya but wants to help others learn how to grow their own food and experience the positive benefits of better nutrition, and of good old sunshine and hard work.
Be a Volunteer
If you are interested in this type of opportunity, or in the Farming God’s Way training, let us know. We’ll be happy to connect you.
Our Farming God’s Way training for 2018 is scheduled for August 9-11. We’ll have the program founder, Grant Dryden from South Africa here to lead the program. This training is open to anyone.
One little seed can make big things happen. Whether that’s in an 80-acre field, or a back-yard garden, growth is a miraculous thing.