Last week, Bethany Bible School hosted its first workshop--a new thing this year in which we run three hands-on type seminars in addition to our 6 curriculum topics. The first one was called Farming God's Way and was taught by Mennonite Central Committee country representative, James Alty.
The idea of Farming God's Way is to teach conservation agriculture, emphasising the spiritual over the scientific. The three tenets of Farming God's Way are no till or burn, using mulch, and crop rotation. Mulch is referred to as "God's blanket" and its importance is emphasised by explaining how in nature, trees drop their leaves which are then returned to earth. In creation, the earth is never turned over and so we too should not deep-plough. In addition, participants are urged to do everything to a high standard and with joy--as unto the Lord.
It is a sad reality that while most people in this area have some land, little of it is being used to great advantage. The land has suffered from years of over-use in which nothing is given back to the soil. Rural people come into town to buy 10 cabbages at a time or 10 kgs of potatoes with their government grant cheques. Returning people to the land would bring huge rewards in the reduction of poverty.
Participants were excited about the workshop and plan to implement the strategies at planting time in November. We hope to do some follow-up and encourage people to actually do this. One person with a healthy garden with living soil would be a small miracle and that's what we pray for.
Singing to open our work on the demonstration "well-watered garden". Mama Dokolwana is leading with her hoe.