Foods Resource Bank Blog

Farmer-to-Farmer in Armenia

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Fremont, Michigan, is a small town with a big project. Fourteen years ago, a few farmers and their local churches started a Growing Project with Foods Resource Bank (FRB). That is, they agreed to combine resources, donate a share of their crops, and raise money to help disadvantaged farmers in other parts of the world. Since then, their project has expanded to involve 20 farmers, 10 churches, several local businesses, and many individuals and organizations.

Gloria Switzer, the leader of a local peace and justice group, is proud to be part of the Fremont Growing Project. “FRB is carrying out its mission of ensuring that food is a human right for all persons,” she writes.

Switzer has traveled with FRB to several countries, including Armenia,

03/13/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Celebrating International Women’s Day with LWR - Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about how this International Women’s Day coincides with the start of LWR’s Learning for Gender Integration (LGI) initiative, where we hope to learn how to create equal opportunities for men and women to benefit from our work in communities around the world. In part 2 I’d like to talk a bit about why a gender-integrated approach is better and what we’ve learned so far.

Talking to Men & Women Farmers
In the design stage of our three model projects — located in India, Uganda and Nicaragua —

03/08/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Celebrating International Women's Day with LWR - Part 1

Today, March 8, we observe International Women’s Day, an international holiday created to inspire women and celebrate achievements toward gender equality.

It just so happens that this year IWD coincides with the start of a very special initiative that Lutheran World Relief is undertaking toward the same goal. We are kicking off three special model projects as a part of a project we’re calling Learning for Gender Integration (LGI).

03/08/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Timor Leste, Community Dialogue Strengthens Partnership

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In FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program, community leaders ensure buy-in by encouraging participants to try new techniques and seed varieties, give feedback, and express their views. Among the program’s focuses are making high-yielding corn seed available, teaching appropriate farming technologies, and coming up with effective grain storage to stop post-harvest losses to rats, insects and mold. For example, rather than hanging cobs from trees in the traditional manner, farmers are encouraged to store their grain and seed in airtight containers of various sizes such as plastic, jug-like “jerry cans,” zip-closed polyethylene “Grain Pro bags,” new or recycled drums, or in silos for water-, pest-, and fungal resistance.  No one solution has been perfect: rats have been known to gnaw through the plastic, and they haven’t been able to get the recycled oil drums clean enough even through several washings. But the collective ingenuity of the community is finding solutions to these challenges.

03/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Intercropping Corn & Beans Boosts Soil Fertility in Laos

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Trials by farmers in the northern green highlands of FRB’s Laos-Xieng Khouang program have shown that planting beans in between rows of corn plants is improving the soil and increasing yields.

An increasing population, not enough land, and deteriorating soil fertility have all contributed to local farmers’ worry, “How long will my family be able to survive off this land?” They’ve got clear evidence that beans replace the nitrogen used by corn. By intercropping beans and corn and increasing the overall organic matter in the soil, they’re improving their depleted soils and seeing higher corn yields. 

03/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Student Micro-gardening Successes in The Gambia

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The GAMHORT Micro-gardening program focuses on nutrition and income generation for the poor in urban and peri-urban areas and communities in The Gambia. Program participants are schoolchildren, disabled persons, people living with HIV/AIDS, and underemployed youth and women. They grow a variety of vegetables on table tops, using a new soilless production technology called micro-gardening. They improve their health by consuming these vegetables, and sell excess produce to tourist hotels for income.

03/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Our 2012 in Review: A report from the Byron Center, MI Growing Project

With a damaging early spring frost and the summer drought, 2012 was, for FRB, a year of uncertainty. There was concern that the level of support for global partners might be less than in the past because of possible shortfalls from hard-hit growing project communities in the U.S.  However, the Scriptures reminded us in Galatians 6: 9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

03/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Congo, Even the Poor Can Earn Income

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Mama Ilunga shares how even the poor can earn income and have a healthy life thanks to the Democratic Republic of Congo-Katanga Kamina program.

FRB’s food security program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) works within the communities of Kamina to reduce high levels of malnourishment, poverty and disease, especially among women and children. This holistic program focuses on training in agriculture best practices for the local environment; sanitation, hygiene and sources of clean water to reduce waterborne illness; and income generation from agriculture. Fast-growing Moringa trees, whose leaves, flowers, seeds and roots are all edible, are a new source of nutrition for the community. Farmer groups prepare fields and plant peanuts, soybeans, field beans and corn together, and sell their excess produce for income. One of the participants, Maman Ilunga, shares her experience and insights:

03/05/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

In Bolivia, Sprinkler Irrigation Produces Healthy Vegetables and Families

Don Tomás, a 52-year-old father of seven who participates in FRB’s Bolivia-Potosí program, says: “Before this program began, one of our biggest problems was water scarcity. Sometimes we were able to plant only a portion of our land, and only when the spring rains came. Now, with the installation of the sprinkler irrigation systems using water from our pond, we can save water, it gets to more families, and we are able to water more frequently with less work. So, this year, eight families were able to plant a hectare (2.47 acres) more than we did last year. There was a drought, but our crops are doing better than those of other families who don´t have this kind of irrigation."

03/04/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

A Gift of Cassava Keeps on Giving in the Central African Republic

A gift of disease-resistant cassava (manioc) from a program-to-program visit is bringing greater food security to participants and neighbors in FRB’s CAR-Gamboula program.

When the program’s director, Benoît, traveled with FRB to Uganda in 2010 to exchange knowledge and practices with program participants from around East Africa, his Zambian roommate offered him a 2-foot section of a cassava cutting from a plant which was said to be resistant to cassava mosaic virus (CMV). Cassava is a staple food in the Central African Republic, so when local varieties were attacked by CMV, widespread hunger followed. Benoît knew that a CMV-resistant variety would be a godsend.

02/28/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More