Ask any farmer and you will quickly learn that running a farm is no easy task. In the last ten years, the Living Hope farming programme has grown and adapted from a two tunnel (greenhouse) project to a full scale operation; moving locations, changing curricula and experimenting with various animal husbandry and produce. Yet, when you sit down with the Living Hope farm manager, Chantel (pictured above), you get the sense that she and her team have got it all under control. Recruiting and screening potential students, up-skilling staff, inspecting produce, ensuring responsible land usage, managing produce processing and packaging, and responding to the needs of local buyers… it’s all in a days work on the farm.
At the root of our agricultural programme is teaching and training. Not only do we grow and harvest seedlings, but we grow and harvest people along the way! The goal is to produce people who can farm well! But there is much more to running a farm training programme than meets the eye. Firstly, where will the students come from? Where will they live? Who will sustain the costs of their training, as well as room and board? What skills and curriculum will we train them with? And what jobs will they go into after they graduate? Each of these steps along the way, are crucial to our successful agricultural training operation!
Check out the photos and captions below to find the answers to these questions and to see more of how our farm works!
Our core farming produce remains cucumbers and tomatoes. These are the products that our team has the most experience growing in the last ten years. We know that tomatoes and cucumbers grow well and that there is a steady year round demand for these products. We can rely on a good harvest from those, while at the same time adapting to an ever changing market that demands new products, which currently are micro greens and duck eggs! Adding the ducks allows our students to learn animal care and growing micro greens adds additional produce experience to their educational experience!
We are thrilled to have been blessed with a year long training in partnership with Delphy, an organization from the Netherlands. Their hands on practical training has given our staff a growing expertise in soil health, soil management, composting management, farm design and environmentally friendly farming. Our staff have benefitted so much from these experts sharing their wisdom and we are thankful!
We are also thankful for the team of mentors, volunteers and trainers that each bring a special component to our holistic curriculum. Pictured above, the students recently completed a prayer hike as a part of their spiritual training and development.
We would ask for your support and prayers for the following:
- We have two sets of architectural plans pending finalization and approval to allow us to erect two shade net structures that will allow us to grow plants in a wind sheltered, sun-filtered environment. Please pray for speed and favour with the processes that need completing. This has been a long and frustrating process!
- Please pray for our staff who have existing challenges in their home lives including ongoing risk for COVID exposure and in many cases social ills and poverty in their communities.
- Please pray for our students who are far from their homes in the Eastern Cape, and far from their support systems. They must quickly adapt to living together, working and learning together as well as leaning on each other for their needs.
- As a part of on ongoing “barn re-vamp” our barn is getting upgraded to become a certified processing and packaging house! These renovations and new equipment ensure that our farm produce will be ready to sell to large corporations according to their standardization requirements. Please pray for the renovations to go smoothly and for the process of certification.
Our Living Hope farm programme remains at the heart of who we are as an organization: helping people earn their way out of poverty through Biblical based business principles and sustainable agricultural production. We trust that you will choose to partner with us as we seek to “Bring Hope and Break Despair” in the lives of young agricultural business entrepreneurs! Would you be willing to provide the means by which we are able to keep this vital programme going? You can choose to specifically fund this programme by clicking the blue button below and choosing Agricultural Training or visiting our website at www.livinghope.co.za/donate. We ideally need people who can give monthly, no matter the amount. Now is the time to do it. Please do click the blue button below to donate securely via our website or see our EFT details below.
Thank you so much for your continued support,
John V. Thomas
Executive Director Living Hope