Area churches to send cow to Mozambique

January 15, 2011

By this time next year, hungry families in Mozambique will be receiving their first cow, a bit of "hope on the hoof," if the efforts of the Field of Hope Growing Project are successful.

For five consecutive years, they have been.  

Success has come, one acre at a time, in five different countries, sending hope and opportunity to thousands of people.

Enthusiasm runs high in the eight small churches that comprise the Field of Hope Growing Project as this year's project is announced.  

The congregations of  Grossnickle Church of the Brethren, Harmony Church of the Brethren, Welty Church of the Brethren, Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, Myersville (Md.) Church of the Brethren, Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, Christ Reformed United Church of Christ, Middletown, Md., and Holy Family Catholic Community, working through the network of Foods Resource Bank, will work together to raise funds to support a cattle project in Mozambique.   

Foods Resource Bank explains how the project works: New cattle clusters are formed in rural areas where good grazing exists. A cluster consists of five families who build a common corral and work together herding the cows. Each family is given two cows and the cluster shares a bull. The cattle multiply for a period of four years and then 10 cows and a bull from the offspring are given to five additional families in the area, forming a new cluster. The training of one "village vet" per cluster increases animal husbandry knowledge in the villages. The village vets are introduced to government veterinarians who provide services to communities. This partnership relationship develops further each year.

The group of Frederick and Washington county churches has worked closely with Foods Resource Bank in the past.  Last year's project raised more than $24,000 to improve food security and agricultural practices for the most vulnerable of the population — orphans and the elderly — in the Nkhoma region of Malawi.  Prior projects have focused on similar projects in Bamba Kenya, Eastern Zambia, Congo and Nicaragua.

 Inspiration for the growing project came from a Sunday school class at Grossnickle Church of the Brethren. After studying the book "Ending Hunger Now" by George McGovern, Bob Dole and Donald E. Messer, the class decided to take action. Options were researched, the partnership with Foods Resource Bank was formed and area churches were invited to participate.  

Celebrations include a "Blessing of the Seeds" held along a stream on the farm at planting time, and a "Harvest Festival" in October. A worship service, cake auction, scarecrow making and authentic food from the sponsored country are shared on the farm.  

For more information, call 301-293-9516.

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