Global Food Initiative supports agricultural projects and training in Nigeria, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uganda, United States

The Global Food Initiative (GFI) of the Church of the Brethren has given a number of grants in recent weeks, in order to support a Soybean Value Chain project in Nigeria, a church-based community gardening effort in Ecuador, a work-study opportunity in Ecuador for trainees from Venezuela, a vegetable production workshop in Uganda, and a community garden in North Carolina.

Financial support for GFI grants is received at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/gfi.

Please pray… For each of these projects and training opportunities made possible through gifts to the Global Food Initiative Fund.


A $25,000 grants continues the GFI support for the Soybean Value Chain project of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria’s (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The project is led by agriculture staff who are part of EYN’s Integrated Community Based Development Program.

Continuing to assist the project is Dennis Thompson, retired from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension, who has consulted and provided training visits in Nigeria and has provided a connection to the pan-African program of the Feed the Future Initiative of USAID’s Soybean Innovation Lab.

The project’s activities for 2023 include training opportunities for 15 volunteer extension agents, provision of farm inputs for demonstration plots (both soybean and maize), advocacy for soybean production, processing, and marketing within EYN and beyond, and a 10 percent administration fee for EYN’s general operating costs.


A grant of $8,000 supports a church-based community gardening effort in Ecuador. The church, located in the rural parish of Llano Grande, has historic ties to the Church of the Brethren and is currently associated with the United Methodist denomination. The garden project is open to both church and other community members and will operate under the traditional “Chakra” model, with multiple generations working together.

Funds and program will be handled by the Fundacion Brethren y Unida (FBU, the Brethren and United Foundation), an NGO that grew out of the work of a Church of the Brethren mission in Ecuador beginning in the 1950s. Church members have worked closely with FBU staff in the planning and design of the proposal, which anticipates that 25 people will benefit directly based on participation from the first year of the project.

Venezuela and Ecuador

A grant of up to $9,950 covers costs for three trainees from Venezuela to spend three months in Ecuador in a work-study arrangement at the FBU campus and farm in Picalqu. The funds will be shared between ASIGLEH (the Church of the Brethren in Venezuela) and FBU. The participants from Venezuela will receive training in organic agriculture and agro-ecological principles, as well as dairy management. Trainees will be called upon to work with ongoing agricultural development projects in Venezuela upon completion of the three-month work study opportunity.


A grant of $3,490 supports a Dryland Vegetable Production Workshop in Kesese, Uganda. The event on April 13-14 was hosted by the leadership of the Church of the Brethren in Uganda, with an expected attendance of 25-30 participants. Giving instruction was trainer Joseph Edema from Healing Hands International, who is based in Uganda. Healing Hands International is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.

Attending the event alongside pastor Sedrack Bwambale of the Uganda Church of the Brethren, who recently attended an agricultural development symposium in Tanzania sponsored by ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), was GFI and Global Mission volunteer Christian Elliott.

This follows on a Dryland Vegetable Production Workshop sponsored by GFI in July 2022 in Burundi. Upon completion of the event, participants will receive drip irrigation kits and will be tasked with setting up demonstration gardens upon returning home.

United States

A grant of $1,125 has been given to First Church of the Brethren in Eden, N.C., for a community garden. The congregation has a history of food ministries serving the community, such as the Farmers to Families Food Box program and the USDA Soup Kitchen Partners Program. The first year of this project will lend itself to handouts and the future will help the participating members of the community to provide for themselves. Produce in the first year will be distributed to neighbors, with the hope that the garden will expand in the future and neighbors will receive their own garden plots.


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