GFCF supports agriculture in North Korea, garden project for inmates in Brazil, farmer’s market in New Orleans




The Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) of the Church of the Brethren has announced several recent grants totaling $22,000. A grant of $10,000 supports agricultural education in North Korea via the work of Robert and Linda Shank at PUST university in Pyongyang. A grant of $10,000 supports a Brethren-led gardening project involving prisoners in Brazil. A grant of $2,000 supports the work of Capstone 118 to begin a small farmer’s market in New Orleans, La.

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The allocation of $10,000 for the work of Robert and Linda Shank with undergraduate and graduate students at PUST University in Pyongyang, North Korea, is in addition to previous allocations to the project totaling $6,802.45. The Shanks, along with undergraduate and graduate students they have trained, will continue crop breeding work on corn, rice, other grain crops, and fruit crops, and will add sweet potatoes as a new crop. A significant new emphasis will be working together with nine county nurseries for the distribution of tissue-cultured raspberry plants for sloping marginal lands. This work is done in conjunction with the Ministry of Land and Environmental Planning, a government agency. Funds will be used for field evaluation materials, lab improvements, tissue culture materials, seed stock, and greenhouse supplies.

The allocation of $10,000 to support the work of the Rio Verde congregation of Igreja da Irmandade-Brasil (Church of the Brethren in Brazil) will aid the work of the church with prison inmates. The Rio Verde congregation, under the direction of pastor José Tavares Júnior, has developed a multi-faceted program working with inmates in the local prison and their families. This work includes a gardening project involving 32 prisoners, which provides food for meals for 400 inmates at the prison. Four charities in the city also are receiving vegetables to improve the meals they serve to people in their programs. The gardening project has been in existence for five years, and recently has rented new land for expansion. Funds will be used to cover costs associated with drilling a well, setting up irrigation, purchasing vegetable seeds and transplants, and covering bank transfer fees.

The grant of $2,000 to Capstone 118 in New Orleans, which some may know as Capstone Community Gardens and Orchard in the Lower 9th Ward begun by Church of the Brethren member David Young, will aid a farmer’s market. Last year Capstone worked with several community partners to begin a small farmers' market as a way of not only providing fresh produce, but also to help local food producers generate some income. The funds will benefit both local producers and recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly known as food stamps). SNAP recipients who shop at the market would be provided with a coupon which entitles them to 20 percent more free produce when used at the market. The market vendors would collect the coupons and exchange them for reimbursement from Capstone.

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to www.brethren.org/gfcf .

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