August 14, 2009
Voices of Hope Pew Bulletin Stories
…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible
for you.’ Ã¢â‚¬” Matthew 17:20
They didn’t move a mountain, but they moved a jungle. The islanders of Garanga in the Solomon Islands were so determined to break their dependency on imported food that they decided to clear the dense jungle and create an area of farmland. With support from PWRDF, the Diocese of Ysabel of the Church of Melanesia purchased 15 hectares of land and eighteen months later they had cleared the dense rain forest and prepared it for agriculture.
The rain, sunshine and humidity of the Solomon Islands provide a year round growing season and the island can have as many as four crops a year. Today the farm produces coffee, eucalyptus, coconut, beetle nut, banana, papaya, corn, peanuts, coco, oranges, sweet potatoes, cava and getropha plants from which edible oil is extracted. Crops are selected to maintain the fertility of the soil and naturally control pests. No chemical fertilizers or pesticides are necessary.
The project has one supervisor who is an agriculturist and employs nine farm workers (both women and men) for three-month terms. The seasonal employment practice allows the project to offer additional income to as many families as possible in a year. So what once was forest is now food. The hard work, dedication and vision of the workers, combined with their vision and faith has made a mountain of difference in their island community. Garanga Agricultural Development Project (PDF)