Last week Jeanne van der Merwe successfully launched her HiF project at Sunway near Hartbeespoort. Jeanne invited Ian Steyn of Foundations for Farming (FfF) to teach a workshop at Sunway on 23, 24 and 25 February. She received donations of food, equipment, seed and compost from supporters in Harties.
A few supporters and 30 pupils attended on the first day. Two ladies brought their gardeners to be taught these valuable techniques. The workshop continued for three days and maize and spinach were planted. Purified water from the sewage system irrigates the fields.
FfF is built on Biblical principles such as:
- To those who have, more will be given, as taught in the parable of the talents, Ma.25:14-30;
- What you sow you will reap, 2 Cor.9:6;
- Give and you will receive, Luke 6:38; and
- Work to make a living, Gen.3:19.
Pupils were taught how to use and preserve the soil and utilise rain maximally. Burning and ploughing is forbidden because it causes erosion and desertification. All plant material that is removed is returned to the soil as compost. Weeds and bushes that have been hoed are made into compost. Plant material is spread over the fields as mulch to keep the soil cool and absorb rain or sprayed water.
The FfF principles may be applied in the smallest background garden. It is quite possible to make a profit by using these:
- Start early. Plan ahead. Prepare well. Do everything at the correct time.
- Work to standards. Do everything to the best of your ability.
- Waste nothing, neither time, water, soil, seed nor energy.
- Work joyfully. If you work conscientiously without excuses, blame or complaints you will find joy and hope, which will strengthen you.
It has been proven that Africa can feed itself by applying these principles diligently. All that you need on a small scale are hoes for removing weeds and digging holes; a 75cm measuring stick; about 5m of string to be able to make straight furrows 75cm apart; an empty tin for measuring compost; a 60cm stick to measure between holes for seeds; compost, dung or chicken manure to place in holes before putting in the seeds; healthy natural seed, mulch and water.
At present about 300 000 people in 20 African countries are growing food successfully using these methods. It works. The farmer who received this method from Above has bought up his neighbouring farms, which could not make a profit using modern technology and big machines.