We’re happy to close out this year with another full summer and fall harvest from the Grace Farms initiative. We had over 3 tons of produce again off of the land under production, similar to last year, but now expanded a bit to roughly an acre and a half of terraced rows.
While we planted more land than the year before, we focused on lower-weight but higher protein produce like beans and hummus. We’ve found that several varieties of beans, and especially hummus (chick peas), grow extremely well out here with little pest harassment. They also dry well, store easily, and pack a lot of protein and vitamins into them! This is important because meat is expensive out here and hard to store in a country with a failing electricity grid. Our host country is only able to output a couple hours of electricity a day at most right now, so many people gave up using refrigerators a long time ago! Beans are a necessary substitute in these days for the refugees and locals we provide them to.
However, we still put out a lot of traditional veggies this year like last, including tomatoes, eggplants, okra, cabbage, peppers, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, kohlrabi, kale and more. We were able to turn over about two thirds of the fields mid-fall in the hopes the weather holds out for an early winter harvest before the New Year. We almost made it last year but missed the window by two weeks and heavy hail in late December destroyed one of our best looking cabbage crops we ever had. This year we covered the cabbage and got our hummus in almost a month early. In this season, we pray for rain but not yet snow!
As we lean into the winter months, we managed to augment our chickens that got wiped out by disease last winter with another flock. We’re beginning to get a couple dozen eggs a week to give out to families. In this country, people buy eggs individually at the store, as they often cannot afford a full dozen! We try to get these farm fresh eggs out weekly to families with children.
We are also working to slowly hatch from incubators “clean” chickens with no disease exposure. We are finding that local flocks are often poorly kept and disease ridden. When we buy chicks from them, inevitably we get more than we bargained for and start having a die off from infections.
We recently got a small flock of goats for producing milk. We find goats are a lot hardier in these rugged scrub mountain regions than cows, and produce a decent amount of milk each day for their size. We’re getting several liters a day to give out to families with small children. Milk is one of the main requests we get from refugee mothers for their children, but it is typically so expensive out here we cannot absorb the cost to deliver it at scale. The goal is to breed more milk producers and provide milk to an expanded number of families. One of the goats is pregnant and going to deliver in a few months, so we’ll see if the Lord provides another milk goat from this!
The farm helpers have worked hard to get this produce harvested and in the hands of hundreds of needy people in the community. Thanks for praying for them! The goal is not just to provide nutritious, organically produced veggies, milk and eggs for needy families, but to also help these workers find a livelihood during these economically difficult times, and bless them with this work. This project is currently in a “charitable development” phase where it is providing jobs, local development and a tangible output, but still relies on charitable input to keep it operating. Thank you to those continuing to hold the ropes on this farm endeavor!
How You Can Pray For The Farms Ministry
You can pray for the workers to have strength for the many daily tasks needed to keep things going. Pray for favorable weather, wisdom in planting, and diligence for the harvest. Pray for this work to be a blessing to the workers and their families, both materially and spiritually. Pray we could wisely distribute the limited amount of food we have to those in the greatest need, and best determine who that is!
Thank you again for your prayers and support. This is a work bigger than any of us, but not bigger then God or His church! If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.