Global Food Initiative grants provide agriculture supports in Nigeria, Ecuador, Burundi, and the US

The Global Food Initiative (GFI), a Church of the Brethren fund, has made several grants in these first months of 2022. Funds are supporting agricultural efforts of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and La Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU-the United and Brethren Foundation), a training workshop related to THARS (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services) in Burundi and Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC), and a number of church-related community gardens.

Find out more about the ministry of the GFI at Contribute financially to these grants by giving online at

An EYN sign for the Soybean Value Chain initiative. Courtesy of Global Food Initiative.


A grant of $15,000 supports the Soybean Value Chain Project of the agriculture staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The agriculture program is part of EYN’s Integrated Community Based Development Program (ICBDP). Activities of the Soybean Value Chain Project for 2022 include training opportunities for 15 volunteer extension agents, provision of farm inputs for demonstration plots (both soybean and maize), and advocacy for soybean production, processing, and marketing within EYN and beyond. The grant include a 10 percent administration fee for EYN’s general operating costs. The project continues to have the assistance of Dennis Thompson, retired from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, who has consulted and provided training visits in Nigeria and represents a connection for this project to a much larger pan-African program of the Feed the Future Initiative of US AID’s Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL).


A grant of $9,900 supports the work of La Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU-the United and Brethren Foundation), an organization that arose from the work of the Church of the Brethren in Ecuador in the 1950s. Much of FBU’s income is typically generated by school and university groups who take short courses at the FBU center. Due to the pandemic and the current Omicron surge, this source of income has only returned sporadically. GFI manager Jeff Boshart, who sits on the FBU board of directors, has visited and observed great strides in strengthening both program and farm production. The FBU board continues to work on financial sustainability issues as it looks forward to post-pandemic opportunities through grants and donations from other sources. The grant will be used to improve the productive potential of the FBU farm through the continuation of current programming, the purchase of a mechanical milking machine, and training processes for the production of organic food and the implementation of plant production nurseries.

A grant of $4,500 supports two church-based community gardening efforts. One is in Llano Grande (a rural parish of the canton Quito-Ecuador) connected with a church that was founded by the Church of the Brethren and currently is associated with the United Methodist denomination. The other church in San Isidro de Cajas (a rural canton of the Province of Pichincha) is affiliated with the Church of God denomination and has received short-term work teams for Vacation Bible School from members of Ebenezer Church of the Brethren in Lampeter, Pa. This proposal is the direct result of conversations begun during the Global Mission delegation’s visit to Ecuador in February. Both gardens will focus on children and youth and are open to church and community members. Funds and program will be handled by the FBU.


A grant of $4,956 supports a Dryland Vegetable Production Workshop in Gitega, to be held July 11-12 at the training center of GFI partner THARS (Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services). The 25 participants will come from Burundi and from Eglise des Freres au Congo (the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo or DRC). Instruction will be given by Joseph Edema, a Uganda-based trainer from Healing Hands International. Most of the people selected to attend the workshop have participated in GFI-sponsored projects with THARS and Eglise des Freres au Congo and have experience teaching others through farmer-to-farmer relationships. Upon completion of the workshop, participants will receive drip irrigation kits to take with them. Each will be tasked with setting up demonstration gardens upon returning home, in order to multiply the impact of the workshop.

Indiana and Alaska

A grant of $4,200 supports an ongoing garden project in Circle, Alaska, which is supported by Bill and Penny Gay, members of Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind. The couple have been gardening in Circle for more than a decade, working together with the Gwich’in people. Four past GFI grants to the Pleasant Dale congregation to support the project total $7,300.

New Mexico

A grant of $2,943.47 to Lybrook Community Ministries supports construction of an unheated hoop house to be installed at a local Navajo Senior Center and Chapter House. Funds will support the purchase of materials for the hoop house, gardening tools, a mini greenhouse, and heirloom seeds, as well as mileage costs to cover large distances between the LCM, Senior Center, and Chapter House.


A grant of $2,917 supports the community gardening effort of Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo. The church’s community has many apartment residents who do not have access to a place to garden and/or are food insecure, and people experiencing homelessness. The congregation is partnering with two community groups: Love INC (In The Name of Christ) Littleton, and Littleton Garden Gang. The church is providing the land for the gardens, financial resources, and meeting space; Love INC is recruiting and selecting potential gardeners; the Littleton Garden Gang is mentoring the gardeners and providing technical support.


A grant of $2,500 supports the community gardening effort of Five Gates Church in Rockford, Ill. The church’s community is in a food desert with little to no fresh produce available in grocery stores, “due to high crime and violence,” said the grant announcement. The garden is an outreach of the congregation with support from volunteers with the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation, a ministry started by former Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya. The congregation provides meals to the homeless and other community members in need through Thursday night suppers, Sunday afternoon lunches, and food distributions. Some of the produce from the garden will be included in these meals and outreach ministries.


A grant of $1,350 supports the community gardening effort of Friendship Church of the Brethren in Linthicum, Md. “The congregation is trying to establish gathering activities in the neighborhood by providing time and space to spend time together, build community, and open the doors for the neighborhood to come and enjoy worshipping God in community,” said the grant announcement. “They hope the garden will be part of the movement. The goal is to refurbish and have a strong and productive garden with opportunities to involve children and further develop and strengthen the congregation’s new children’s programs.” A second goal of the project is installation of a garden at a recovery house in the community. The gardening work is spearheaded by the congregation’s Community Engagement Team “as they take seriously the challenge to be Jesus in the Neighborhood.”


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