Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Farming Corn God’s Way

“It was Gordon that introduced me to the concept of agricultural missions work and gave me a passion for it,” says Joanna Lippmann ’07, who was a Pike scholar majoring in sustainable agriculture and community development, minoring in missions and outdoor education. ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) solidified her love for sustainable agriculture; her missions minor helped her interact with issues missionaries regularly face as they decide where to go, what to do, how to do it and who to be as they share Jesus with people around them.
It was Gordon that made Joanna aware of ECHO, a nonprofit, Christian organization she interned with, dedicated to fighting world hunger through ideas, agricultural information, training, and seeds. Joanna’s agricultural internship with ECHO led her to Niger to help another ECHO staff member at a conference for homeschooling families and to visit missionaries involved in agricultural work.
Today Joanna lives in Cambodia—in a town called Mondulkiri—apprenticing with an Australian family doing agricultural work. Currently they are cross-breeding U.S. and Australian breeds of chickens for the purpose of improving the size of the eggs, disease-resistance, and egg-laying capacities of village chickens. They’ve also been working on demonstrating the Farming God’s Way method when growing corn, distributing fruit trees, educating people about rearing rabbits and teaching them how to produce their own animal feed instead of buying it.
Farming God’s Way, also called conservation farming, was designed to mimic the way God grows things in nature. It was developed by a Christian Zimbabwean corn grower who was having difficulty growing things. He developed new techniques including heavy mulching, no tillage, permanent planting stations, planting along the contour of the hill, specific spacing and timing, and doing things to high standards and with pride and excellence. He shared these with his neighbors, along with the gospel, attributing his success to God’s goodness to him. His methods have spread to Cambodia, where Joanna is working to implement them in her community.

Joanna is pictured with a friend’s son in front of their Farming God’s Way corn plot.

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