These ARE your grandfather’s farming methods!

July 25, 2016

When we work with younger farmers, sustainable conservation agriculture techniques seem “new.” They are very different from methods that many farmers currently employ, such as field burning. Occasionally, however, we come across an older farmer, who will smile knowingly as we introduce the techniques, often saying something like, “This is how my grandfather farmed.”

We often get skeptical looks when the conservation agriculture techniques are introduced. But the results speak for themselves!

Due to civil wars, natural disasters, political strife, widespread disease and other ills that seem to befall some countries at an above-average rate, societal knowledge is often lost along with the generations of people who die amid those disasters.


The conservation agriculture method uses materials freely available in nature, like dried palm leaves for mulching.

Farming using only easily accessible natural resources and working with nature is not a new practice. Actually, it’s the oldest practice. Before there were any other choices, people learned how to fertilize with manure, how to protect soil with mulch, and how to select the best seeds as the ones that would go on to create the next crop. But with industrialization, and well-meaning organizations, people recovering from trauma have been encouraged to learn other ways – “fast tracks” to better crops and quicker harvests.


The “slash and burn” method of clearing farmland causes long-term damage to the soil, and contributes to environmental issues caused by large-scale deforestation.

However, many of these practices have caused disastrous soil degradation, and in the mean-time, the sustainable way has been forgotten.  As part of our training, we show people how God always intended for people to farm using things from nature – the things God alone provided. We talk about humanity’s first farmer – God himself – who populated the earth with plants and animals and ultimately people, to whom he imparted the knowledge to farm. When we see nods of the heads and smiles on the faces of people who are eager for a better way, we are reassured that we are reawakening God’s original plan in their hearts and minds.


Conservation agriculture training typically begins with a session to illustrate God’s plan for farmers and creation.