Harvest Appeal Means Beans-ness in the Philli-beans
Launching the Bishop of St Albans Harvest Appeal for 2017 “Full of Beans” took pupils from three primary and one secondary school, a lot of baked beans and a world record attempt for baked-bean-eating run by USPG, (United Society Partners in the Gospel) whose work the appeal supports.
The appeal asks parishes and schools to support projects in the Philippines transforming their communities, turning lives and fortunes around.
The Harvest Appeal is focused initially on the farming villages of the Philippines Islands’ Upper Tinglyan region. A project there run by the local Anglican church and USPG helps farmers to improve their lives by making the most of their assets – in this case their bean crop. Eventually, USPG wants to help all seven dioceses of the Episcopal Church of the Philippines.
With support and input from USPG, the local church shows care for its communities through encouraging them to look at ways of improving their lives based on valuing their circumstances. So the Tingalayan people were helped to see that the cooler, rainy climate in their region produced some of the highest quality beans in the country. They quickly saw that if they could sell more beans they would improve their circumstances and after analysing their production methods and adopting sun drying alone to preserve the beans, their improved crop is being sold as far afield as Baguio in the west and Manila in the south of the country, using local church networks.
The money has been paying for secondary education and for medical treatment – both otherwise out of the reach of the Tinglayan families – as well as supplementing the meagre diets of families. Today, the Upper Tinglayan communities are excited about the prospect of clearing more land to plant more bean crops, and working together to build self-sufficient communities.
Primary and secondary school pupils from Ponsbourne St Mary’s, Dewhurst St Mary’s, Holy Trinity CE VA Primary and St Mary’s High schools learnt about the project directly from the Bishop of St Albans as well as from USPG and through ‘Bean-Eating Challenges’ and planting beans, in which the Bishop also took part.
Bishop Alan said:
“Learning that the gifts you have been given, your surroundings and your opportunities can make a difference not just to yourself but to those you care for and to wider society as well is a valuable life-lesson. Seeing that lesson at work in the context of alleviating poverty makes it doubly valuable.”
Bishop Michael, Jeremy Pearce (the diocese’s World Development Adviser) and one of USPG’s Directors attempted, but sadly failed to break the world record for bean-eating. This was overseen by the Guinness World Records and involved the eating of baked beans individually using a tooth pick.
2016’s Bishop’s Harvest Appeal raised over £61,000 towards clean water and sanitation in the Bongalava district of Madagascar.