Global Food Initiative issues grants for community gardens, agriculture initiatives

Members of the Church of the Brethren in Spain work in a community garden that receives support from the Global Food Initiative.
Photo by Jeff Boshart

Members of the Church of the Brethren in Spain work in a community garden that receives support from the Global Food Initiative.

The Global Food Initiative of the Church of the Brethren has given a number of grants in the first few months of 2018 to support community gardening efforts, agriculture initiatives, and other work to support food security in a variety of areas across the globe. Grants have been given to projects in the United States, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Spain. For more information go to .

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Community gardening projects in the United States

Grants from the Global Food Initiative (GFI) have been given to community gardening projects connected with a number of Church of the Brethren congregations:

Lybrook Community Ministries, working closely with Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren in Lybrook, N.M., has received an allocation of $15,440 to expand a gardening program to include more Navajo families in six communities: Lybrook, Counselor, Ojo Encino, Pueblo Pintado, White Mesa, and Nageezi. Grant funds will purchase a small tractor, a trailer, tillage attachments, materials to construct hoop houses (or unheated greenhouses), and fencing materials. This is the fourth year that the project has received GFI funding. Previous allocations total more than $26,000.

A community garden connected with New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren has received an additional allocation of $2,000. An allocation of $1,000 was made in 2017. Members of the New Carlisle church are actively involved in this project, which began three years ago. Funds are going for mulch and top soil, lumber for raised beds, a used tiller and lawn mower, a weed wacker, some labor costs, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Rockford (Ill.) Community Church of the Brethren is receiving a grant of $1,500 to support its community garden. Two garden plots initially were planned for the project, begun in 2017, but the garden already has grown to include 10 plots. Goals for the project include teaching at-risk youth how to grow and preserve produce, planting culturally appropriate garden produce for the community’s needs, and creating space for urban dwellers to explore gardening. The money is being used for a rain harvest tank, gardening tools, top soil, and some support for the garden director. A previous allocation of $1,000 was made in 2017.

Potsdam (Ohio) Church of the Brethren’s community garden project has received an additional allocation of $500. The project, begun in 2017, has provided fresh garden produce to the community of Potsdam and to a Catholic meal program in Troy, Ohio. Members of the congregation, who live in multiple communities, also have received the gifts of fresh produce. Funds will be used for seeds, plants, and supplemental supplies for a season-ending harvest celebration. In 2017, the project received a grant of $1,000.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Shalom Ministry (SHAMIREDE) in the DRC, a ministry of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the Congo), has received an allocation of $7,500. The money supports continued agriculture work among the Twa or Batwa people, and is being used for seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, land and tractor rentals, trainings, fencing, and some program-related staff expenses. This is an additional allocation, with previous grants to the project totaling more than $42,000. GFI support for this project began in 2011.


A well project in the village of Lassa is receiving $4,763. The money supports the drilling of a well for a farm owned by Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and operated by the agriculture staff of EYN's Integrated Community Based Development Program. The program currently operates tree nurseries in the communities of Garkida and Kwarhi, connected to a reforestation project, and would like to expand operations at the Lassa farm. A GFI delegation visited this farm in October 2017 and learned of the need for a borehole. In addition to drilling the well, the money will help install a solar electrical system and water tanks, and start 7,900 fruit trees in the nursery.

EYN’s Soybean Value Chain project is receiving an allocation of $1,383 to support training and consultation activities. Dr. Dennis Thompson of the Soybean Innovation Laboratory, an initiative of the University of Illinois and the US Department of Agriculture (USAID), have traveled to Nigeria to work with EYN on the project that is a collaboration between EYN’s Integrated Community Based Development Program, Brethren Disaster Ministries, and the GFI. The EYN program already has received an allocation of $25,000 through the Nigeria Crisis Fund to support the work of the soybean project for 2018.


Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda (ETOMR) has received an allocation of $8,500 for an agriculture project among the Twa or Batwa people. The money is going for seeds, fertilizers, land rental, tools, and some support for extension staff. This is an additional allocation, with previous grants to the project totaling close to $48,000. GFI support for this project began in 2011.


Twol gardening and grocery projects of congregations of Iglesia Evangelica de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in Spain) are receiving support from the GFI. Allocations have been given as follows:

The Lanzarote congregation’s grocery store project called “Dad y Se Os Dara” (Give and It Will Be Given to You) has received an allocation of $7,445. The project goal is to open a small community grocery store that would provide a service to the immigrant community through the sale of food at low cost, complementing a gardening project of the church and a newly begun poultry project. Excess produce from the gardens will be sold in the store, along with bulk goods. The money will purchase freezers, a refrigerator, and some bulk dry goods. The congregation is providing matching funds to cover rent, utilities, and local taxes.

The Oración Contestada (Answered Prayer) congregation in the city of León is receiving $3,750 in support of its community gardening work. The congregation is re-starting this garden after a leadership transition in the congregation. The project serves 25 to 30 families in the church and community who have the greatest economic need. Funds will purchase hoses, sprinklers, and vegetable seedlings, and will be used for fuel costs, seeds, and land and tractor rentals. This is the second grant to the project. The first, in 2016, was for $3,425.

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