Covenant farmers partner with Growing Hope Globally to combat hunger through agricultural development
As a farmer, Peter Haugen from Dassel Covenant Church in Dassel, MN, knows farming and faith go hand in hand.
He shared, “It has always been really humbling to have so many stories in the Bible linked to farming.” It’s the connection that has led him and others to support farmers in the developing world through Growing Hope Globally.
The Northwest Conference has had a long relationship with Growing Hope Globally (formerly Foods Resource Bank), as a missional way to engage in supporting the work of Covenant World Relief and Development (CWRD) and other organizations that are responding to hunger through agricultural development. This happens through Growing Projects, which are local community-based projects that work with farmers, churches and others in the community to raise financial resources, by leveraging a portion of a harvest or some other commodity. The financial resources then go to help farmers in the developing world grow their own food.
Duane and Peter Haugen started the Prairie Water Growing Project in 2014. Duane was a part of another Growing Project, but when Peter started farming with his dad, they wanted to do something more locally.
“Our Growing Project has changed and evolved greatly over the years,” Peter said, “It started with businesses contributing some money or resources to help cover costs on the acres that were being donated. Today, it is composed of individuals from the church and community that donate a portion of their proceeds to send overseas. It has ranged from a pastor raising goats, a church member with hives of honey bees, a young boy selling eggs, to farmers selling a few acres of crops from a field.”
They also find ways as a congregation to celebrate the work they do together.
“We gather each fall at the end of September to join in a meal at the church and have an update from the Overseas Projects we support,” Peter said. “This day also includes activities at a farm, like apple squeezing, a corn pit, a bale maze, and if it is possible, harvesting of some crops.”
Over the years their Growing Project has developed relationships with the programs they support. Covenant missionary Roy Danforth visited them and Dassel Covenant Church to share about the research and training farm in the Central African Republic that the Prairie Water Growing Project was supporting at the time. Peter was also able to visit the farm and see the work they were doing to equip people to grow nutritious food for themselves.
This last fall Philipine (Pini) Kidulah from West Pokot, Kenya, was able to visit his farm along with sharing her story with the congregation. Pini leads Jitokeze Wamama Wafrika, an organization that empowers women in agriculture and community development, which is supported by CWRD and Growing Hope Globally.
Growing Hope Globally is a Christian response to hunger that helps farmers in the United States support farmers in the developing world through agricultural development. Since it’s inception it has helped more than 2.1 million people move towards food security. CWRD is one of Growing Hope Globally’s several denominational partners that work together through a shared commitment of growing lasting solutions to hunger.
Peter says, “We like working with Growing Hope Globally because they do their homework on Overseas Programs tofund, and they do such a good job with updates and making connections. We aren’t just writing a check and wondering if the money is helping, we are investing resources and getting regular updates from the dividends of ourinvestment.”
When it comes to the idea of starting a Growing Project, Peter says, “Go for it! It doesn’t have to be this grand, showy thing. … Growing Hope Globally has a great support staff with resources to help share the story of what is being accomplished.”
If you would like to learn more about Growing Hope Globally and what it means to start a Growing Project visit www.GrowingHopeGlobally.org or contact their Regional Director Mark Swanson, who is also a Covenant Pastor, at email@example.com or (509) 494-9850.