Global Food Initiative grants go to Haiti agriculture program, community garden, food distribution program

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative (GFI) has given grants to support transition of an agriculture program of Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) to a self-sustaining ministry. Also among recent grants are allocations in support of a community garden of Grace Way Community Church of the Brethren in Dundalk, Md., and a food distribution program of the Alpha and Omega Community Center in Lancaster, Pa.

Haiti

An allocation of $3,000 for Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) will support transition of the church’s agriculture program to a self-sustaining ministry. A three-year agricultural project funded by Growing Hope Globally concluded at the end of June, as a four-way partnership between the church, the GFI, the Haiti Medical Project, and Growing Hope Globally. The focus was soil conservation, animal production, and reforestation. Church leaders plan to transition away from a training and production model toward a more business-orientated model in which agricultural products and tree seedlings will be sold as both a service to rural farmers and a way of generating income for the church. In July and August, staff who are currently working part-time in agricultural projects and part-time in Haiti Medical Project water projects will function as consultants to support the church leaders in producing a business plan. At the same time, staff will be concluding their work on the present project, including participating in an external evaluation. The grant funds will cover the two-month costs of the agricultural staff plus minor vehicle repairs.

A photo from the Haitian church’s agriculture project. Courtesy of GFI

In a related grant, $5,000 has been given to cover the costs of an evaluation of the agriculture project that was supported by Growing Hope Globally. The project was begun on April 1, 2018, and concluded on June 30, 2021. Mid-year and year-end evaluations were a part of the project. A mid-year review for the 2020-21 year was unable to be completed because of instability and COVID-19 travel restrictions in Haiti. Klebert Exceus, who has worked in the past with Brethren Disaster Ministries and GFI, will complete the evaluation that requires visiting 15 communities in 17 days, with 2 days to prepare a report to share with the National Committee of Eglise des Freres. Agronomists working on the project will be asked to travel with the evaluator.

Alpha and Omega Community Center

An allocation of $2,000 supports a food distribution program of the Alpha and Omega Community Center in Lancaster, Pa. The center began as the social action arm of a Church of the Brethren congregation and now continues as an independent nonprofit with the goal to strengthen the community in Lancaster County, focusing on Latino families. Among the center’s services is a food bank that is offered twice a month, providing much needed nourishment to families during difficult economic times. Grant funds will purchase a new refrigerator, allowing the center to receive and distribute more perishable food items, specifically from the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Community Action Program and from individual churches.

A child enjoying fresh produce at the community garden of Grace Way Church of the Brethren. Photo courtesy of GFI

Grace Way community garden

An allocation of $2,000 supports the community garden work of Grace Way Community Church of the Brethren in Dundalk, Md. The church is expanding its garden capacity, with a total of one acre of land available. The project serves three communities: Grace Way’s Ecuadorian congregation, the African immigrant refugees settled in the Dundalk community, and those that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Goals include assisting those struggling with food security, improving diet and health practices among low-income families, and promoting awareness of hunger-related issues among Ecuadorian low-income families living in the community. The grant funds will purchase bedding soil, plant food, plants, and gardening equipment and supplies.

For more about the Global Food Initiative and to contribute financially to these grants, go to www.brethren.org/gfi.

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