Using Sustainable Agriculture to Change Lives

When you rely on your farm and agriculture to provide an income and to feed your family, you must take care of the land to make sure it remains healthy for years. When soil erosion makes it difficult to grow crops, poverty is exacerbated. The links between environmental damage and poverty are well established. Poverty often creates desperate circumstances that lead to further environmental destruction.

Sustainable agriculture is the marriage of environmental restoration and economic development. This means using locally available tools, like soil conservation, conservation agriculture, the use of cover crops, agroforestry, and composting to build healthy soil. Our Creation Care curriculum engages families in understanding their role as stewards of creation.  Farming families are ready for the skills and knowledge that will transform their lives and homes. 

Our Activities

Farmer Field Schools
Plant With Purpose organizes Farmer Field Schools which help provide instruction in basic sustainable techniques and encourage experimentation. Farmers take an active role in improving their agriculture, making change both environmentally and culturally sustainable as they prepare for eventual graduation.
Vegetable Gardens
Plant With Purpose encourages vegetable gardens in order to improve the diet of families. They often see a surplus which they sell in the market. Vegetable gardens also diversify the family’s income sources, which makes them less vulnerable to the failure of a particular crop.
Erosion Barriers
Poor farmers are often forced to farm steep hillsides, which are particularly vulnerable to erosion. To address this, Plant With Purpose trains farmers to construct soil conservation barriers that help conserve soil nutrients.
Animal Husbandry
Animals are a form of savings. Plant With Purpose helps farmers maximize their invest in livestock. Families can sell them when they are fully grown. Animals also provide protein for the family’s diet. The most commonly raised animals are goats, pigs, chickens, and cows, which have the added benefit of providing milk for the family.
Plant With Purpose teaches communities how to build and maintain cisterns. These artificial water collectors catch rainfall and water runnoff. In areas where rain is scarce and people lack resources to pump or collect water from afar, cisterns offer a simple solution. Most cisterns can support a couple families through the dry season.
Organic Materials
Farmers make organic fertilizer for their crops out of sawdust, chicken manure, and weeds. Using these local ingredients they are able to produce an inexpensive, slow-release fertilizer which saves money and time. This increases crop growth, decreases the consumption of unhealthy chemicals, and reduces waste.

Linking Economic and Environmental Growth.

As improved farming practices increase families' incomes, they have more opportunities to save and invest in their futures. Many rural areas do not have banks, so Plant With Purpose helps organize Village Savings and Loan Associations.

Environmental degradation contributes to poverty. Poverty, in turn, contributes to environmental degradation. By addressing the two as a single, unified issue we can break a cycle that harms many lives.