The Gold Mine of Local Ingenuity

What happens when the line gets blurry between sustainability and marketing?

Some of our planet’s most needed solutions are ready to be unearthed. They aren’t waiting to be discovered in the labs of our top research institutions. They aren’t waiting for tech entrepreneurs to figure things out. They’re in the minds of the people most affected by our planet’s health, like our friend Wilson.

Rural villages in exploited countries are the front lines of the environmental crisis. People living in these areas rely on agriculture for their survival. If their survival is threatened by poverty, desperate practices that degrade the land become commonplace. It surprises some to realize that smallholder farmers are some of the biggest contributors to deforestation, but this is an effect of poverty.

But, what happens when things go right? When these populations can focus more comfortably on their farming, sustainability increases. In fact we start to see a widespread adoption of sustainable farming techniques. Then we see something else.

Local creativity becomes unleashed. Farmers connect the dots between the different skills and techniques they learn. They apply sustainable farming principles to other aspects of their agricultural lifestyles.

This results in entire communities sharing knowledge, skills, and experiences to combat what is truly a global problem. It strengthens relationships in villages and introduces new techniques and opportunities.

Wilson has thrived thanks to innovation
Wilson has thrived thanks to innovation

Wilson is a great example of ingenuity in Tanzania

Wilson’s farm sits in rural Moshi-Marungai. A few years ago, he started participating in a Farmer Field School in the community. The farmers who gathered hoped to learn new skills to cope with the runoff coming from shrinking glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Wilson had a wife and three kids, though they are now grown and in University. Wilson joined his Farmer Field School almost ten years ago and has since become its chairman. The thing that convinced him to join was seeing his neighbors’ garden beds and how productive they were. The neighbor was a participant in a program already.

“I used to have normal garden beds, but after seeing my neighbor’s high production, I decided to join and saw the benefits,” he explains. Now his group is nearly ready to graduate from Plant With Purpose’s program to spread knowledge to others.

“I love the idea of graduation because we already learned the skills and have seen the differences. We want other people and other groups to learn from us,” he tells us.

Wilson’s farm speaks volumes about the knowledge and creativity that he wants to share with other groups. Innovative farming methods producing visibly healthy crops show others what is possible.

Wilson's cow fuels his kitchen
Wilson’s cow fuels his kitchen

Wilson has turned cow-rearing into an activity that benefits the whole farm.

Cows can be a valuable source of income and security in villages like Moshi-Marungai. Cows are also an environmental concern, however, as uncontrolled grazing can worsen deforestation. High amounts of methane emitted from cattle also raise concerns.

Wilson owns a cow, along with other livestock. However, he has discovered ways to make cow raising as resourceful and efficient as possible.

Wilson designed the cow’s stable to naturally collect the manure in an underground entrapment. He used the material in compost and as fertilizer. This organic fertilizer helps significantly increase the rate at which his crops are able to grow.

By collecting the cow’s manure in an enclosed space, he was also able to trap much of the gas produced by the cow. A series of metal pipes connect the enclosure to the side of Wilson’s house and into his kitchen. Amazingly, he shows guests how to connect his stove to the pipes and how to use the emissions to fuel a stove.

“Through these projects wherever I get money I take some and give it to God as a tithe. When I sell a pig, livestock, I must take some to give God. I also give to Plant With Purpose to help with education and training, because Plant With Purpose has helped me with these projects as you see. I spread the knowledge to neighbors when they come,” explains Wilson.

Plant With Purpose exists to help you support farmers like Wilson be the solution to our planet’s ecological problems. Through focusing on the spiritual roots of environmental challenges, we see transformation take place at every level. Want to partner up? Sign up to become a Purpose Partner here!

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