You may have recently seen some pictures on our various social media pages about our vegetable gardens and greenhouses making progress over in Swaziland. But what exactly is the significance of this sustainable farming you’re hearing so much about?
Sustainability is a word that has surfaced in the past 30 or so years to address ecological, economic, political and cultural development, and it basically means the endurance of systems and processes.
In the case of One Heart Africa’s farm in Swaziland, sustainability means the change of livelihood of those living in poverty. It’s easy to ask for money to provide food and resources for those in need, but the aid only helps as long as it takes to expend it. So what can be done?
Thanks to a partnership with Harvests of Hope, we’ve developed a farm using organic seeds, pine dust, and animal manure that will yield crops for years to come! We’ve also built custom shade gardens that house 800 plants each. Since the plants aren’t getting as much sun as they typically would if they were out in the open, they try harder to get to the sun, which means they grow faster. Our crops are in individual seedling bags filled with very nutrient-rich soil, which means they require little water. This is also a plus, since the area we plant in can experience drought. We don’t use pesticides, and the greenhouses cut down on soil erosion and protect the soil’s nutrients.
HIV affects many families in the village, and one way to keep them healthy is by providing healthy food to keep them strong. Even if an HIV-positive individual takes the proper medication, it means very little if they do not receive proper nutrition. The OHA farm seeks to be an avenue where these families can get the food they need for free.
Not only does the farm support impoverished families, but it provides jobs for them. Poverty rips families apart by forcing one or both of the parents to leave their homes to seek work in different cities or even different countries. The children are then left in the care of a friend or relative, they don’t get the care they need, and the poverty cycle continues.
OHA believes that families should be together. Period. We seek to break this cycle by providing on-the-job training and steady, ethical employment through the profits from a portion of the crops. Our goal is to build guesthouses on the property so that each family that works with us can stay together.
Thank you, each and every one of you, for your continued interest and support in the work happening in Africa. We are so excited about everything going on, and look forward to sharing all the great developments in the villages there that have stolen our hearts!