Farming for Sustainability
Farming will always be a sustainability strategy for GSI. Everyone needs food, so the growing and distribution of food will always be a viable business. Supplying food is a real service to communities. Many unreached peoples live in rural settings, and engaging in agriculture is a good way to join their communities.
Farming is universal and at the same time versatile. A farming business can be very large, or very small.
GSI has funded large commercial farms in Africa and Asia, which grow commercial crops such as seed maize and vegetables, and rear animals such as goats. Commercial farming is hard work, and its results are not immediate. But the hard work and skill of OM-ers can pay off. In Africa, the farm is run by an OM-er who has many years of experience in commercial farming, and is bringing professional farming techniques to a remote and backward area. In Asia, our Organic Farm is specialising in organic vegetables which can command a premium in the local market. Both farms are growing in profitability over the years, and in time should be able to provide a steady income to support OM work. Both are also building relationships with their neighbours and contributing positively to the local communities. The Africa farm, for instance, hosts a much-needed community school.
On a small personal scale, farming can also be a good sustainability cum ministry strategy. On an OM Field in Asia, local believers are trained in Christian conservation farming methods developed in Africa (see Foundations for Farming), and then sent to remote villages as church planters. Their little farming plots go some way to providing food for themselves, and their conservation techniques and superior yields give them an opportunity to share about God our Creator and Provider.
Chicken farming can also be a good option. It can be on a very small scale - handled by one OM-er - or on a medium-sized scale for a team. Chickens and eggs are consumed by most cultures, and in the right circumstances, chicken farming can be a profitable business that also serves the community in providing nutritious food.
Farming is of course very contextual. What grows well in one place may not grow well in another, and what sells well in one place may not sell well in another. A farming business needs to be well researched and thought through. But when it works, farming has a lot of business as well as church-planting potential.
Do contact GSI if you are an OM-er and have a farming or agricultural sustainability idea you would like help with.