Written by Jessie Palatucci
Léontine, a 45-year-old mother of four, in Burkina Faso Central, suddenly found herself the head of the household when her husband died. At first she earned a small income selling flour gleaned from a local mill. Then, through Foods Resource Bank’s (FRB) local partner Office de Development d’Église Évangéliques (ODE), she began attending trainings on ways to improve her farming and marketing practices.
Along with other area farmers, Léontine learned to identify and encourage beneficial insects, control harmful ones, and use organic composting techniques. All this played a big role in improving the health of her soil.
She learned to add value to her vegetables by drying them before marketing and to process neem (a drought-resistant tree). Because she does not use pesticides, her produce and neem oil are in great demand. She also grows rice and fattens hogs for sale to add to her income.
Léontine also received training from ODE on public speaking, and now freely expresses herself at municipal council meetings. She has since become president and accountant of a Research Action Group in her region. She is a trainer and community adviser and has been sought out by women’s groups in other regions to teach women the same farming techniques she learned and uses.
As Léontine puts it, “I feel well blessed because I can now ensure almost all the essential needs of my children -- health, education, and food.”
Foods Resource Bank is supported by One Great Hour of Sharing and UCC Churches participating in FRB Growing Projects. In partnership with the United Church of Christ, Foods Resource Bank (FRB) responds to the problem of world hunger and helps hungry people know the dignity and pride of feeding themselves.
Foods Resource Bank sponsors agricultural partnerships called “growing projects” that work together to provide food and food-growing supplies to people in need. First, land is donated or rented for a year. Local farmers then plant and harvest a crop, which will be contributed to FRB. Agri-businesses support the project by extending favorable prices for, or donations of, agricultural inputs like seed and fertilizer. Individuals, churches, and communities also get involved by providing resources to cover costs in excess of donations.
After a crop is harvested, it is contributed to FRB. Then, instead of paying high shipping costs to send food supplies to hungry people around the world, FRB sells the original crops and uses the funds to provide seeds, tools, training, and other resources to affected areas. This maximizes our ability to respond to hunger. You can join this important ministry by supporting a local growing project sponsored by your church, land-owners, farmers and agri-business people. Contact UCC One Great Hour of Sharing to learn more.
Story excerpted from Food Resource Bank.