I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays. December is always such a busy time. If you are like us, Christmas is a time of gift-giving and feasting with loved ones. Often homemade gifts are exchanged, such as the boot birdhouse we received from our daughter and son-in-law. The week between Christmas and New Years, however, is usually a welcome slow down for us. It’s a time to shift gears and think of changes ahead. As you eat your way through the holiday, I would hope you would keep in mind others around the globe whose table is not so full. You can learn more about some of these people and how to understand and assist them through the following organizations.
Ecology Action teaches people worldwide to better feed themselves while building and preserving the soil and conserving resources. Find out more at http://www.growbiointensive.org/. My teaching is based on Ecology Action’s GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods. Ecology Action puts out a quarterly newsletter that has a garden report you might find interesting if you are serious about GROW BIOINTENSIVE.
Heifer International works with communities to end hunger and care for the earth. They are best known for donating animals and training to community groups in impoverished areas around the world, but they also have other sustainable projects, such as tree planting. Heifer publishes the magazine World Ark which is a wonderful resource to learn more about their initiatives and meet the people they help through the pictures and stories. There are several Heifer International centers where you can learn more about world hunger and what to do about it. I’m most familiar with Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. Find out more about Heifer at www.heifer.org.
Lambi Fund of Haiti works toward economic justice, democracy, and alternative sustainable development in Haiti. The Lambi Fund is based on the premise that the Haitian people understand how development is best achieved in their country. Therefore, the Lambi Fund follows the lead of grassroots organizations in program and priorities. The Lambi Fund never dictates to a community organization what should be done. Through discussion and reflection, the peasants decide what is best for their community and present the project to the Lambi Fund for support. Learn more about their work at http://www.lambifund.org/.
Tillers International encourages an attitude of experimentation to produce more local food with less global fuel. This organization maintains a farm/learning center with classes in appropriate technology farming techniques, draft animal power, blacksmithing and metal work, timber framing, woodworking, cheesemaking, and many other skills. Their work includes maintaining a museum of farm tools and machinery which they use for inspiration to create tools needed in developing countries today. Tillers International Cooks Mill Learning Center is located in Scotts, Michigan. Find out more at www.tillersinternational.org.
Trees, Water, & People develops and manages continuing reforestation, watershed protection, renewable energy, appropriate technology, and environmental education programs in Latin America and the American West. Part of their work is with fuel-efficient stoves. Find them at http://www.treeswaterpeople.org/.
Think globally, act locally has never meant more to me. These organizations will give you a glimpse into how others around the globe live. My work is with food. I feel strongly that in order to make sure people around the world have enough to eat, we must first learn to feed ourselves, and do it sustainably. In 2012 my blog posts will concentrate on what it takes to truly feed ourselves from homegrown and/or local food supplies. Understanding that and making it a part of your daily life, helps to give you the skills and knowledge to better know how to help others do the same, no matter where they live. Besides growing the food, or buying it from a local farmer, learning to cook for yourself from scratch and getting the food all the way to the table using the least fossil fuel is all part of it.