David Reeves joins Just Hope as Agricultural Technical Advisor
December 17, 2014
When dealing with the world’s poorest people, access to food is always a challenge, and it’s likely that agriculture will be a common component of our work around the world. To assist Just Hope with guiding our technical efforts in agriculture, we have hired David Reeves as Agricultural Technical Advisor. David brings close to 15 years of international experience in developing nations, including Togo and Rwanda.
David grew up in Bentonville, AR, where his father was a school teacher, church volunteer and hobby farmer. His mother was primarily a stay-at-home mom who, by example, taught the values of food preservation. David said they grew 50 to 60 percent of their own food, so he has never been a stranger to working in the dirt. He graduated from Harding University, where he met his wife, Becky. Together with their four children, they spent the majority of the last 20 years serving abroad, primarily in Africa.
From 2000 to 2010, David and his family served in Togo, a West African country similar in size and climate to Sierra Leone. There they assisted with the digging of several water wells. During an 18-month sabbatical, David earned a Certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Colorado State University, followed by two years of service in Rwanda. David’s intention in Rwanda was to dig water wells, but one week before departure, he was introduced to a farming method known as conservation agriculture. Intrigued, David planted a six-by-six meter test plot next to his home in Rwanda. This test plot performed exceptionally well, so David and his team extended the test to a larger plot through a partnership with local subsistence farmers.
Although the larger plot was located on fairly infertile soil, they again experienced impressive results and knew they were onto something. One of the members of David’s farming group, an older gentleman, kept remarking how he remembered practicing agriculture in similar ways when he was a boy. As the group worked through the farming model, he was the first one to grasp the techniques and the most eager to implement them on his own farm. David said it was at that point that he understood the sustainability and reproducibility of the method and how well it empowered people to solve their own food security issues and provide surplus food to sell in order to fund school, health care and other vital resources that before had been out of reach.
“For me, there have been few experiences to match seeing the look in that farmer’s eye, when he first realized he could feed his family,” said David. “I knew that brokenness could be made whole.”
Since 2012, David has explored and tested multiple agricultural approaches for use in Africa, and we welcome David’s expertise as we seek new opportunities in Africa and elsewhere.