Timothy Bannister explaining the basic principles
and methods of Farming God's Way
We had the pleasure today of joining our colleagues Tim and Diane Bannister on an STM trip into Kenya's Central Province with Pastor Wayne and Sandy Dickaus from Kingsway Baptist Church, Toronto. The Africa Christian Church & Schools (ACC&S) were our hosts as we visited their headquarters in Thika and ventured into the beautiful area of Kigumo with members of their development team.
The maize stalks on the left were planted and cared for in the traditional way, while the ones on the right were planted and cared for according to the Farming God's Way method. As you can see the Farming God's Way method resulted in plants that tower above the older method of farming with maize stalks nearly twice as thick and as high.
While in Thika we visited the ACC&S show garden and were impressed with the results of the Farming God's Way initiative that The Sharing Way introduced to ACC&S this past year. The maize stalks pictured above were only planted in October 2009 and already have soared above the expectation of the church members. Through simple farming principles of low tillage, targeted fertilizing and generous use of mulching to protect the soil and retain water, the Farming God's Way approach produces 3 times the yield with 90% less irrigation and fertilizer. It sounds incredible, but seeing is believing!
Maize is the main staple of the Kenyan diet.
It is much dryer and heavier than the varieties of sweet yellow corn that we are use to in Canada. Kenyan's love it roasted, boiled in dishes, and most commonly crushed into maize meal and made into Ugali a heavy dough-like dish that looks like mashed potatoes. You can't come to Kenya without eating Ugali!
Erica and Diane Bannister in Kigumo Lower
We traveled from Thika towards the Aberdares in Kenya's central highlands to the beautiful lush forests and cultivated hillsides of Kigumo to visit development projects of the ACC&S. It was inspiring to see how these little churches are able to make a big impact in helping their most vulnerable neighbours through love and generosity.
ACC&S committee member Francis Chegay, ACC&S Guardians of Hope coordinator Patrick Miana, Rev. Dickaus, benefecary Rebecca Wairimu & Sophia, and Aaron
Through very simple interventions, the ACC&S churches are working together with The Sharing Way to improve the lives of people living in poverty. One of the most effective strategies has been helping people grow their own food. In places like Maai Mahiu, where the ACC&S has been worked with Canadian Baptist Ministries and Canada FoodGrains Bank to feed over 7500 people for the past eleven months, they are now helping people establish gardens and are distributing seed for next months expected rains. The success of such food security projects can be seen in places like Kigumo where agriculture programs have empowered people to feed their own communities. The challenge will be helping vulnerable people in drought affected areas like Maai Mahiu to make the most of their environment. Perhaps some of the lessons from Farming God's Way will be part of future success in areas like this.
Some of the local kids cheering us on as
we climbed the steep paths in Kigumo Lower