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South Africa is in a real crisis with a very weak economy, which has been further weakened by Covid19 lockdowns. The official South African unemployment percentage is over 30% currently and it is climbing. This is a serious issue for the most marginalised of our people and with most sectors of society cutting jobs back there is only one sector that is standing wide open..Ö Agriculture.

Throughout the years of extending Farming God's Way, we have seen astounding yield improvements in thousands of international case studies. For example, our lead farmer Dickson Shuwaliís farm yields went from 3 bags on an acre to 69 bags on the same piece of ground over a 4 year period. More importantly we have seen an incredible transformation in both individual farmers lives as well as in village communities, seeing the yoke of poverty loosened, removed and broken off the lives of the poor.

However, in the past 17 years of extension thousands of people have been trained in South Africa and yet the adoption has been sadly, very low.
Itís important to understand the reasons for this in order to make the necessary adjustments to the strategy and to bring about successful adoption and changed lives and livelihoods.

Firstly, the South African rural tribes were historically pastoralists, farming cattle, goats and sheep. They were not agrarian and as such do not have growing food as a natural part of their historical culture.
Secondly there has been massive influx of people from the rural areas moving into the cities to find work and it is this urbanised sector of society that are currently most at risk.
Thirdly there is a severe dependency syndrome with the poor leaning heavily on handouts and government grants which has really crippled the poorís desire to want to work and their ability or confidence to create viable businesses.
Fourthly we have noticed that even though we see our model farm as something very small and the trainees love it, they canít relate to implementing this because they donít have the size of land readily available, not in the towns anyway.
Fifthly, there are so many obstacles for the poor to overcome to start a garden. They donít know what or how much or even where to buy the necessary inputs, and even if they want to they end up buying seeds and seedlings at exhorbitant prices which are not viable for them.

So during lockdown in May I was praying in the garden and said ďLord imagine if we had 100 gardens like thisÖI corrected and said no 1,000 gardens like thisÖthen corrected again and said 1 million gardens like this.Ē As I said it, something settled deep in my heart, and I realised that this is not an unattainable request!!!

To set you at ease, we are not asking anything of you, except that you get actively involved!!!
We can do this and we must do this, but it must be done a different way!!! The issue is not whether Farming God's Way works or not, as it has a longstanding history of success across many nations, climates and crop types.
The issue is how to get the poor to do Farming God's Way.
How do we break through all of the barriers that keep them from walking in the fullness of Godís plan and providence?

To change from a pastoral to an agrarian culture, you first need to change the mindset so they believe that the land has been given by God so that people could prosper from it, and to do this they must be successful in their first attempts. The Bible says in Luke 16:10 ďHe who is faithful in a little thing is also faithful in much.Ē Being successful is a critical factor in this journey and so we want the community to start small and be faithful with the little that they have. Success breeds success!!!

A senior man of God said to me the other day the answer to the socio-economic crisis in South Africa is that ďwe must get people to go back to the landĒ. I heartily agree as it is the only viable remaining economic sector for the poor to lean on, but they canít go back to the land and do what their forefathers did in the past, as they will soon be back in towns having failed to make a living off the land. We have to learn from our mistakes. Farming God's Way is a completely different way, revealing Godís blueprint from when He first planted the garden in the east of Eden, and put Adam into the garden he had made, and told him to ďwork it and care for itĒ. Farming God's Way unlocks the potential of the land and shows us how to align our ways to His ways and walk in His favour and blessing.

Historically, many garden programs have started and then failed based on one major flaw - they too are perpetuating the dependency syndrome through handouts, however as soon as the handouts stop, so do the garden programs. In the Gardens of Faithfulness program, we are not going to give handouts or handups or loans. We are going to teach people how to grow nutritious vegetables using their own hands by utilising the natural resources that already exist all around them. Trainees will have to clear their own garden, collect 1 shopping packet of manure; 5 shopping packets of grass or leaves for mulch and 1*500ml margarine tub of woodash.

The very small size of the gardens of faithfulness, 1m wide by 2m long, is critical for getting adoption and for the principles to take root. They are made up of 2 rows of Beans, 2 rows of Spinach, 1 row of beetroot and 1 row of spring onion. This is a very simplistic version of Farming God's Way which anyone can do whilst providing excellent daily household dietary supplements. Out of this 1m*2m garden many of the fullness of the skills in Farming God's Way can be gleaned over time as the trainees engage in repeat trainings throughout the seasons.

Those that are faithful will in turn be rewarded with the opportunity to be able to expand their gardens next season. Over time we trust that this confidence gleaned on small scale will birth the realisation that their familyís currently idle lands have the potential to become the sources of their own food security and viable farm businesses in the future.

To bridge the gap between small growers and large scale seedling suppliers, we are in engaging with the national seed and seedling agencies to establish a beneficial pricing strategy for our most marginal communities. We would like to make seed and seedling packs available for sale for between R10-R20 to the implementers. The cost is less than a packet of chips and yet the value of the Gardens of Faithfulness crops is approximately R500ís worth and supply each household with year round fresh produce.

To reach a million people in this country and bring a measure of food security to each of those households is an enormous task indeed but it is very doable if we each work through our existing areas of influence. We currently have 20 accredited Farming God's Way trainers in South Africa, which is not nearly enough to reach the 5,000 Ė 10,000 organisations required to touch a million households in this country, so Farming God's Way will be providing free online training videos and handouts (or videos on flash drive at a small cost), that can be used by your organisationís facilitators on the ground, at your convenience. Over each season, implementers will be exposed to 6 Gardens of Faithfulness 2-3 hour training modules where the opportunity to disciple and bring the fullness of Godís ways will be built through the repeat training opportunities.

This is a very exciting empowerment model and has the potential of drawing many parts of the body of Christ together to fulfil the challenge of Isaiah 58 ďto feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh and bloodĒ but in a way that we equip the poor to help themselves and bridge the seemingly impossible chasms that separate them from breaking out from under the yoke of oppression. They say it only takes a spark to light a flame but if we have many sparks across this nation we can see a wildfire of Godís glorious hope revealed to those most in need.

Get involved today Ė To view the requirements please look at the Information Sheet on the Get Involved page and then Register Online
Gardens of Faithfulness