For Darla Stewart and other Waverly First United Methodist Church members, a garden project has become a hands-on mission.
Stewart, an administrative assistant at the church, said the garden was planted this year to grow fresh food for the community and to raise funds for an overseas project through the Foods Resource Bank.
Stewart said the children who attend the church’s Sunday School program have been working on the garden to grow peas, lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. An acre of sweet corn was recently added.
This is teaching the children about charity, Stewart said. “It’s not just throwing money at something,” she said. “It’s actually doing mission [work] with their hands and their hearts to help others.”
As FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program draws to a close, a report marks the program’s success and indicates that lives and livelihoods have been strengthened with training and support. In one of the world’s least-developed countries (171 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index), farmers have had to face such challenges as declining soil fertility, plant and soil diseases and pests, lack of access to water, and the high risks of depending on one crop (maize) for survival.
The program’s focus has been on expanding and strengthening agricultural-based livelihoods through the introduction of crop diversification and appropriate agricultural production techniques like
Participants from FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program recently reviewed their first-year progress and gave feedback on program strengths and weaknesses during a “beneficiary accountability” meeting. They expressed gratitude for updates from program staff on project goals and objectives and for the chance to weigh in, stating that it was the first time any programming organization had taken the time to report back to them or ask them their opinions.