Throughout my early childhood years, my dad always had colorful herbs and veggies growing in a garden in the backyard. It was during this time in my life that I learned that gardening in the Phoenix desert requires a good deal of knowledge and creativity.
I also have family that lives in a small town in Arkansas where the land and conditions are so fertile that you can literally throw watermelon seeds into the yard and actually grow watermelons! That is not the case in Arizona where you have to work and hope and pray to make even a little zucchini plant grow in a raised bed planter. In arid climates, the soil is fragile. Sustainable farming and gardening practices prevent soil erosion and help ensure a future where the ground continues to be fertile.
What is desertification?
Strategic and thoughtful farming methods, especially in dry climates, help combat an issue that affects millions of people globally: desertification. What is desertification you ask? Desertification takes place in drylands all over the world, and it is the process of fertile land becoming a desert. Common causes of desertification are drought, deforestation and incorrect farming.
Farming God’s Way
Food for the Hungry combats desertification in Africa by teaching farmers scientifically-sound agricultural techniques combined with strong biblical values. We have seen these techniques radically transform farming practices and bring hope to African farmers. The practices are simple, but farmers see a drastic increase in the yields of their crops.
The following core principles teach farmers to care for creation while creating a sustainable, successful livelihood.
No Burning: The common African practice of burning destroys the soil.
Animal manure: Use animal manure instead of chemicals. Animal manure is balanced and has the best acidity for plants. With chemicals, plants grow too quickly, but with manure, they grow at their own pace and yield better results.
No tilling: The practice of plowing destroys soil structure, including the microorganisms that live in the soil, leading to erosion and rapid water loss.
Plant at the right time: It has been the common practice to plant at the same time every year, according to the calendar. We’re encouraging farmers to be more in tune with environmental cues. They should plant after the first rain comes.
Mulch: Mulch provides a permanent organic cover.
Faithful Weeding: Weeds deplete nutrients that should be reserved for crops. Farmers should identify weeds early on in the process and begin the removal process.
You can help farmers around the globe have more success in their livelihood and provide for their families by giving an agricultural gift today!
Chellsea Fort is Food for the Hungry’s Social Media Analyst.