Sarah heading to Valle Nuevo, El Salvador

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings! I am excited to share with you what God has been doing in my life recently. I have had the enriching experience of working with World Hunger Relief, Inc. (WHRI) for the past six months. WHRI is a nonprofit farm in WacIMG_2361o, Texas, that teaches people about sustainable farming, local and international hunger issues, and provides produce and meats at the local farmers market. The farm also partners with communities in various countries to educate and encourage locals to farm more sustainably and efficiently. WHRI aims to assist these farmers with appropriate resources and knowledge.

World Hunger Relief, Inc. would like to send me, along with a team, to our partnering community, Valle Nuevo, in El Salvador. This community is a rural farming community working hard to develop opportunities for their youth. Valle Nuevo has asked WHRI for direction in creating various livestock and produce enterprises to create jobs and income for local youth.

While there, the WHRI team and I will talk with locals about their dreams and support the development of a plan of action to create agricultural enterprises for the community. I will be further researching local technologies that are appropriate for the community’s economic and environmental situation to take this information back to the WHRI img_4626farm in Waco. The research will be used for WHRI’s educational programming, ensuring that we are giving the most accurate representation of the lives of those living in one of our partner communities, sharing the most appropriate technologies for the developing world, and providing motivation to respond in the most helpful ways.

I am excited about the opportunity to learn and serve alongside the people of Valle Nuevo, El Salvador. I seek your prayerful support in this mission. This trip is funded entirely on donation from individuals and churches, like yourself. Would you please consider supporting this trip financially? I will need a total of $800 to fund all my expenses. I ask you to consider financially partnering with me in this mission that will broaden my skill set, grow the potential for the community of Valle Nuevo and enhance learning back in the U.S.

If you are able to give, checks can be sent to:

World Hunger Relief, Inc

356 Spring Lake Road

Waco, TX 76705

*Please write “Sarah-El Sal” in the memo line

Credit Cards can go through my financial support website: https://whr.ejoinme.org/38983

 

 

Thank you,

Sarah Slemons

Article by WHRI Alum Published

WHRI is very excited for our recent alum of our internship program, R. Wesley Smith, whose article ‘Becoming More Mindful of Creation’ has just been published in Christian Reflection: A Series in Faith and Ethics. This publication is part of The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University.

To read his article, click here.

May Farm Notes

Click on image below to read the entire May issue of Farm Notes.

Newsletter 2012-05 2Dear Friend of the Farm,

WHRI has added three new staff members to the team in recent weeks.   Randy Fish now serves as our Farm Operations Director, Kristi Pierera is our new Education Director, and Rebecca Mann serves as our interim Office Manager.

This month’s newsletter focuses on the Christian calling that drives our mission

and those who serve within it.  It also features interns Elizabeth Ross and Amber Jekot, who are just finishing a year of service and learning at WHRI.

We are grateful for, and humbled by, the gifts, creativity, and commitment of the individuals God continues to send to us.Rene Jackson examine greens

Blessings,

Neil Rowe Miller
Executive Director

 

 

 

The Three Sisters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago we started our Three Sisters garden at Garden Club!  The “three sisters” comes from a Native American tradition where beans, corn, and squash are all planted together.  The corn acts as a trellis for the beans, the squash serves as a ground cover and weed suppressant, and the beans fix nitrogen for both corn and squash.

In garden club we read the story and the kids acted each part.  Then we talked about oral traditions and recited the story again, after hearing it once.  The kids illustrated what they heard (see pictures).  Finally we planted the first sister, CORN!

Thank you to our partners Cooper Foundation, Alcoa Foundation, Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission, and the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

-Annali (AmeriCorps Elementary School Garden Coordinator)

Ride for Relief – Join Today!

As a new addition to Spring Farm Day on April 14,  World Hunger Relief, Inc.  is inviting families or teams to join in a 5K fun bike ride to raise support for our work in alleviating hunger. You can help us three ways:

Sign up to ride here.

Sponsor a team here.

Join our event on Facebook and spread the word to your friends.

All funds raised up to $10,000 will be matched by Christian Mission Concerns!

E-mail ride4relief@worldhungerrelief.org or  call Matt Hess at 254-799-5611 with questions.

Volunteer for Spring Farm Day!

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Volunteer for Spring Farm Day
Mark your calendar for April 14, 2012 for World Hunger Relief, Inc.’s Spring Farm Day!
We are already planning for this exciting day and we want you to be a part of it.
 

Groups and individuals can sign up for a shift now!
Morning and afternoon shifts available.

If you’re interested in volunteering, email volunteers@worldhungerrelief.org or call 254-799-5611.

    Volunteer Opportunities 

  • Lunch Prep
  • Parking Director
  • Coffee Server
  • Village Store Assistant
  • Art and Education Activities
  • Plant Sales
  • Set up
  • Clean up
  • General Help
Fun Facts: 

  • Volunteers get FREE lunch
  • Our Fall 2011 Farm Day had 107 volunteers!
  • Fall Farm Day had more than 1,000 guests
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Becoming Detroit

I was sent a link to On Being by a good friend of the farm, Kris Olson.  On Being is a weekly show on NPR, hosted by Krista Tippett; sometimes I listen to it on Saturdays, and it frequently encourages me to think deeply about our work and our impact on the world.  I especially enjoy Tippett’s encouragement to develop skills in imagining a world in which we all want to live.  She frequently features guests who view imagination as a spiritual discipline and a method of prayer.

A recent episode was entitled Becoming Detroit.  Many of us have been encouraged for a long time by the way Detroit has responded to years of economic downturn.  This episode examines the spiritual roots of this movement, it was motivational to me to continue to think creatively about the future of our community here in Waco. There is also an accompanying slide show on the website; I felt at home by the scenes of community gardens that look like some of the ones our interns worked in on MLK Day, and even the art has a similar aesthetic. Here is the link to the episode; if you listen or look please share your ideas.

Matt Hess
WHRI Education Director

Seed Libraries

Patrick O’ Connor,  WHRI alum, was recently quoted in an interesting Food First article; check it out below.

Seed Lending Libraries: Empowered Communities Take Control of their Genetic Resources

seed library

By Katie Brimm

Watch out Chaucer, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Aristotle, here comes Mint, Pea, Squash, and Kale, the new members of your local library. Seed library that is. With more than 30 already underway in the US, six of which are right here in the Bay Area, these pockets of public access are making neighborhoods more resilient to environmental changes and the ever-looming corporate controlled food system.

What Are They?

Seed libraries are places where members of the community can come and literally “check out” seeds just like one checks out a book, for free. Members can take, grow, save, and at the end of season, “return” seeds back to the library. This gives the average person free access to hundreds of varieties of seed stock, many of which are specific and native to the very climate of their neighborhood. Talk about eating locally.

Why Are Seed Libraries Important?

Seed libraries carry and promote open pollinating, heirloom, and native varieties, and by participating, members are not only getting free seeds to grow their own food, but also their seed saving efforts help conserve the planet’s genetic diversity. “Seed libraries are a community response to genetic erosion, the loss of varieties, and keeping a viable seed stock through growing seeds out regularly, through in-situ biodiversity conservation,” says Patrick O’Connor from local Berkeley BASIL: “Our ability to save our own seeds is central to the task of building a democratic food system.”

This is crucial, BASIL notes, because of an increased dependency on hybrid varieties as the majority of the world’s family-owned seed companies have been bought out by multinational corporations. Often this means plant strains saved over years and years are replaced with patented hybrids. This is not a viable strategy as hybrids suffer noticeable declines in yields in subsequent generations, decreased genetic diversity and a loss of environmental resilience. And since most are now patented and cannot be legally collected and used, farmers and gardeners are forced to buy new ones from corporate sources every year. The backlash against corporate seeds coincides with the increase of libraries and a movement to return seeds to the people.

A Place For You

The nature of this movement is clear in the aesthetic environment of the libraries. Most are set up in public places, but some, like Richmond Grows, are even housed in Public Libraries. This is partly because they lend existing infrastructure and support, but more significantly because at their core, seed libraries are for the community, the public, the people.

Unlike corporate seed companies and seed banks, you can just walk into local seed libraries like BASIL or Oakland’s new Seedfolks. You’ll find no coded vault here or billion dollar climate controlled facility like the Seed Vault in Svalbard, but instead an old wood file cabinet just like the ones used for books, alphabetically arranging the tiny seeds for next season’s crop. No plated window or locked doors that only “officials” can go through, but instead a friendly, open environment meant to encourage learning, sharing, and a fascination with heirlooms, native plants, and traditional cultural knowledge. It is not only seeds you get here, but also hands on workshops that teach the average joe how to grow their own food and save their seeds in the process. O’Connor reminds us, “We should eat what we want to preserve, cherish the crops that our ancestors tended and participate in the reciprocal relationship that has sustained human civilization since time immemorial. If we wish to have a sovereign food system we need to hold our shared genetic heritage in common.”

Get involved!

This year will be BASIL’s 13th annual Seed Swap on March 30th at the Ecology Center in Berkeley. It’s a potluck for agricultural biodiversity with interesting people, good food and music.

Grand Opening Celebration for the Cesar Chavez Seed Library: January 21, 2012: @ the Cesar Chavez Public Library (3301 East 12th Street #201 in Oakland; 2-5 pm; free of charge. Join the Seedfolks and the Cesar Chavez Library staff and community as we celebrate the grand opening of Oakland’s first public seed library! http://www.theseedfolks.org/events-and-classes.html

Start a Seed Library in your own community!


List of Seed Libraries Across US

Resources:
Native Seeds
San Francisco Chronicle news story on seed saving
Seed Library
Seed Savers

New Truck and Tractor

A few weeks ago,  WHRI celebrated the addition of a new truck and tractor! We want to say thank you to all the supporters that made these additions possible. We give a special thanks to Elizabeth Smith with the Cooper Foundation, and Brent Neuhaus with Brazos Valley Equipment!

Also thanks to:

Tom and Penny Chase

Helen Lander

William Pakis

Joseph Riley

Gail Attas

Christian Mission Concerns

Irvin and JoAnn Barron

John and Linda Heaton

Roane and Anne Lacy

Three Mountain Retreat

Agri-Business Consultants, Inc.

Wesley and Lillian Murphey