Growing Nations Trust

Having been here for the past five months, I wanted to write a little bit about the organization that I am serving with here in Lesotho. You have gotten bits and pieces throughout my blog posts, but I wanted to write a few specifics about what is happening and how things work here in the valley.

Growing Nations Trust is a conservation agriculture organization that is seeking to assist farmers around Lesotho as well as the rest of Africa find an alternative way to traditional, or sometimes called conventional, farming methods. By traditional, I mean farmers who plow their fields every year, allow animals to graze their farmground, use no covering for their soil to help prevent erosion, and plant one crop every year rather than rotating crops. Several possible results of these traditional methods are extreme soil erosion, decresed boidiversity in the soil, and increased soil compaction. All of these factors contribute to lower and lower yeilds on a yearly basis.

Growing Nations’ mission is to help farmers see a different way of farming, which they call Farming God’s Way. In this method, farmers learn ways of using all of the resources that they do not have to buy to make the most of their farming every year. This alternative has three main principals, which include minimal tillage of the soil, covering of the soil using mulch, and crop rotation. In using this method rather than the traditional or sometimes called conventional farming method, a farmer will increase his or her yield, sometimes by five or ten times as much.

While this new method can be compelling and persuasive, many farmers continue what they have always done, so GNT is always trying to train and show people how these new ideas can work better. Also, GNT does not give hand-outs to farmers, so they are not trying to win farmers over to their way by bribing them. GNT tries to equip farmers with all of the tools of knowledge and farming so that they can succeed for many years to come. GNT does sell seed, chemicals, equipment, and other related things to farmers at cost, so a farmer has to have his or her own personal initiative and commitment to their farms to get the things that they need.

Here’s the link to the GNT website if you wanted to check out all of those people involved in the project: http://www.growingnations.co.za/funding-gn.html. Feel free to cruise around the website. Most of what I have been talking about is on the website and explained through different videos and descriptions.

One of the problems that the project is experiencing right now is a lack of funding for several different projects. Right now, the mission grounds only has two bathrooms and one shower, but we are in the process of building a much larger bathroom facility for all of the groups that come to Growing Nations for training and work. Sometimes, groups of 20 to 30 people will come and stay at the mission, so we’re trying to accomodate these larger numbers of visitors and volunteers with better facilities. Also, when these facilities are finished, they will generate their own income as people come here for their own retreats and pay to use the grounds.

If you talk to anyone who was around me as I prepared for this trip to Lesotho, he or she would easily tell you that I am a terrible fundraising person. This time is also a bad time to be asking for money because it’s now after Christmas, so who has extra money to give anyway? I’m only getting the word out that a need exists here at GNT if people would like to give. I ask for support because GNT is promoting development of local people and resources rather than giving away things to people and creating dependency on outside sources. GNT is empowering local farmers to farm better and live subsistently.

If you would like to give to GNT, you can give directly on their website at this address: http://www.growingnations.co.za/funding-gn.html . If you have any questions or comments about the organization, feel free to leave comments, and I will try and answer those things as soon as possible. Thanks to all who have the opportunity and resources to give.

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~ by randallkoehler on January 30, 2012.

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