The Global Food Initiative of the Church of the Brethren is giving grants to support agricultural work in Haiti and garden projects in the United States. Other grants will help carry out program evaluations in a number of African nations.
An allocation of $35,000 for the agriculture work of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) is the final grant supporting a proposed five-year post-earthquake agricultural development project. This grant will provide funds for 17 mini-projects ranging from animal raising, soil conservation, tree nurseries, and crop production for rural communities, to economic generation activities such as fruit drinks and peanut butter sales, as well as soap-making for urban communities. Both the budget and the evaluation were completed in Haiti before the onset of Hurricane Matthew, and likely many of the animals and crops observed during the evaluation have been destroyed, notes the grant request. Haitian Brethren church leaders are doing a complete needs assessment in impacted communities. Some of the relief work will be focused on food security and replacing lost animals.
An allocation of $5,000 support a part-time garden advocate at Capstone 118 in New Orleans, La. The garden advocate will have various responsibilities including communicating advocacy needs to the Office of Public Witness of the Church of the Brethren, relating to local elected officials, grant writing, scheduling volunteer groups, and handling publicity. The grant funds will be used to pay a portion of the stipend or wage for this newly created position.
An allocation of $2,000 helps fund a church-school-community partnership spearheaded by Community of Joy Church of the Brethren in Salisbury, Md. This grant will cover a consulting fee for the Camden Community Gardens and is seen as “seed money” or a “bridge grant” for a much larger effort that will include 10 churches, Salisbury University, an experienced organic farmer, and local elected officials. Two projects will be used to grow organic vegetables for the school system: the first will grow vegetables year round in high tunnels for consumption in the cafeterias, and the second will establish instructional gardens at elementary schools. This grant also will help compensate an organic farmer with 40-plus years of experience for the work of adapting a plan previously designed for Salisbury University to grow vegetables to serve in the university cafeteria.
Grants are funding program evaluations in a number of African countries where the Global Food Initiative is involved in supporting agriculture. All of the evaluations will be conducted by the staff of Eben-Ezer University of Minembwe in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An allocation of $2,140 funds an evaluation of sponsored projects in Burundi. An allocation of $2,540 funds an evaluation of sponsored projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo. An allocation of $2,320 funds an evaluation of sponsored projects in Rwanda.
In an additional grant directed to the DRC, an allocation of $1,150 supports an outside facilitator to work on strategic planning with the emerging Brethren group and its community development ministry, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED). The outcome of this planning would be a blueprint for the future with concrete organizational goals to strengthen the ministries and capacity of the church group and SHAMIRED. Funds will cover the cost of the facilitator for three days, transportation for the facilitator, food for the other participants in the consultation, and the ensuing compilation of a comprehensive strategic document to be utilized for future organizational programs.
For more information about the ministry of the Global Food Initiative or to contribute financially to its work, go to www.brethren.org/gfi