As we mentioned in our January prayer letter, Anthony and I traveled to Tanzania in January. Anthony was testing his Helping Without Hurting in Africa training. In the meantime, I got to sit in on our friend Brett Harrison's seminar. Brett and I are writing a curriculum called "The Earth is the Lord's: Bible Studies on Agriculture and Creation Care" and he was leading a group through those studies. He also included lessons on plant and soil science and on legumes. Did I mention that it was all in Swahili? Good thing I often practice Swahili by reading the Bible and a book on plants. So many science words...
We took a field trip on one of the days to Brett's grad school research farm and got to see lots of thriving legume green manure cover crops. Mucuna, jackbeans, pigeon peas...now I feel very impatient to plant my garden at home.
Taking pictures of everyone else taking pictures never ceases to amuse me:
And we also visited some of the farmers Brett has been working with for years. It was encouraging to see the ways they have been creative with growing cover crops and with intercropping and to hear about how these practices have helped them. I hope that someday I'll meet farmers in Uganda who are as enthusiastic about and have benefited as much from conservation agriculture.
I especially enjoyed seeing some excellent intercropping. It was nice to know that I'm not the only one who mixes everything together in one garden. Here are some jackbeans grown below sorghum and sunflowers:
And look, a cassava plant mixed in there too:
Some pigeon peas as well:
Here's the proof that I was there too:
I'm looking forward to opportunities to go through the Bible study curriculum with farmers in Uganda and I hope it will be useful and encouraging for them. I know I myself learned and was encouraged during this week of study and I co-wrote the curriculum!