‘Let’s Grow’ is in the imperative - Let US Grow. Every person can participate, whole families. The motivation for this call to action came I believe in response to a plea to God to feed our nation of orphans.
Zimbabwe's no. 1 problem is sickness. The average family consists of a grandmother or 'gogo' who is looking after her grandchildren. Her own children are either sick or deceased. She herself suffers from hypertension from being on a diet of refined maize, refined sugar and refined oil. Not enough crops are grown. The children, on the same diet, suffer from hyperactivity. The family is in cricis and needs support systems.
Jesus saw any situation as a challenge from God to respond to the glory of God. He said in John 9:4 ‘While daylight lasts we must carry on the work of him who sent me; night comes when no one can work.’
His work at this very point in time was to make a man blind from birth to see using a paste of soil and spittle and rubbing it on his eyes. Then telling him to go and wash it off in the pool of Siloam. This the blind man did and when he had washed it off his sight was restored. Jesus then used this act of compassion and kindness to say literally ‘I am the Light of the World’.
When the man was asked by the religious leaders the second time about his healing, he implored them. ‘Here is a man who has opened my eyes, yet you do not know where he comes from! It is common knowledge that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to anyone who is devout and obeys his will. To open the eyes of a man born blind – it is unheard of since time began. If that man had not come from God he could have done nothing.’ ‘Who are you to give us lessons,’ they retorted ‘born and bred in sin as you are?’ Then they expelled him from the synagogue.
Jesus heard that they had expelled him. When he found him he asked ‘Have you faith in the Son of Man?’ The man answered, ‘Tell me who he is, sir, that I should put my faith in him. ‘You have seen him,’ Jesus said, ‘indeed it is he who is speaking to you.’ ‘Lord, I believe’, he said, and bowed before him.
An act of kindness, in a sinful world, bringing a man to faith is to the glory of God, and is the ‘work’ we are all sent to do. Physical, spiritual and social are so interlinked it is better to recognise the ‘whole’ that we are, and to this end we focus on the Sustainable Home or the Small Farm
The Sustainable Home or the Small Farm
A 'home' is the basic unit of society. If it functions in a healthy, responsible way it will follow that the community and the nation will move in the right direction.
'Sustainable' refers to the good practise of balancing carbon fixing with carbon emissions by giving back what you take in order that the system remains strong, and continues to replenish itself.
We need to recognise our 'sustenance' is nourishment not only from food but from trust in God and results in responsible community living with a commitment to each other. Communities need to be strong to weather any kinds of 'shocks' that may come against them.
Sustainable Food Production has been defined as follows:
“Systems of food production which produce as much food of high nutritional quality as is consistent with maintaining/building the fertility of the soil, whilst minimising the use of non-renewable external inputs and exhibiting the maximum degree of resilience against external shocks.”
(Patrick Holden from the Sustainable Food Trust.)
The Sustainable Home Chart summarises the multiple benefits that interface with each other.
Sustainable Home Chart
If each cell in the body is fed the right, unpolluted nutrients the whole body making up many cells will have the best chance of functioning properly. It stands to reason that we should look at the well being of our bodies from the cellular approach. We should not focus on what diseases we have, but on what makes us well. We should assist the body in every way for it to regenerate well, after all we have a completely replaced body every year in terms of new cells!
We can use the same analogy for running a home or a family farm. If everyone from big to small to even smaller gardeners farmed organically and sustainably the whole of the nation would benefit and become healthier. If more real ‘markets, not ‘supermarkets’ could sell untainted organic produce, then like a well person the nation would become more productive and everything would follow on from that. Less health bills, well fed, healthy people becoming more productive leading to engagement in secondary industries, a better economy, more employment and most importantly such natural farming would integrate perfectly with the surrounding environment and not compete with it. Ecological farming is at the very heart of nation building and amazingly consequent upon this it is completely compatible with environmental preservation. At the very least it creates less of a dependance for food and fuel from our surrounding environment, ensuring more protection of untouched indigenous ecosystems.
This task is massive but if we do not have a clear picture in our minds of a goal we could all work towards we will not move in the direction. To this end we focus on the Sustainable Home or the Small Farm as a blueprint, or a single cell model for every person to grasp. You can style your own farm or urban garden around it - the principles remain the same.
Creating sustainable soil systems, i.e. vermicomposting (worms in the top earth permanently enrich the soil)*1
Planting your grains with their’ food for life’ on the Foundations for Farming principles.*2
Creating a food chain so that the system is ‘closed’, much like the earth is a closed recyclable system. The above optimum grain yields feed not only the home but also the chickens. *3
Input for the whole farm feeding ‘chain’ is only your first seed. No further animal feed is required since the livestock eat the grass bedding that has been provided for the chickens. This bedding has chicken poop which is still 78% nutrient rich. The goat manure and vegetable waste in turn feed the compost heaps and the whole system sustains itself with very low inputs.
Sustainable energy from wind and sun.*4
Water harvesting systems.*5
Indigenous tree nurseries and fruit trees.*6