A day on the farm and an evening in church launches Bishop’s Harvest Appeal: ‘Give Peas a Chance’
Church Farm, Ardeley, and St Michael and all Angels Church, Borehamwood, hosted the 2018 Bishop of St Albans’ Harvest Appeal launch.
The Appeal, called ‘Give Peas a Chance,’ is working with appeal partner Christian Aid to improve farming and the lives of farming communities in Malawi, through the growing of the hardy pigeon pea.
On a warm May afternoon, children from St Lawrence Primary, Ardeley, and St Nicholas CE Primary, Elstree, spent two hours being acquainted with what life on a farm in England is like, how to plant seeds and how to harvest a crop, in this case, rainbow chard, and what makes Church Farm, an ethical farm, different.
During a tour of the farm they also saw livestock kept on the farm and the different activities that take place on a modern, diversified farm, including an area for campers and caravans and other activities. A feature of farming practice at Church Farm is the growing of crops, such as chard, which put nutrients back into the ground as they grow. This is something they have in common with the pigeon peas growers, although, as the children learnt, farming in Malawi is very different to the UK! Malawian farms are more like small-holdings, less mechanised, more labour intensive and of course, working in different climatic conditions.
Later in the day, at St Michael’s Church, Borehamwood, Bishop Alan made a phone call to a Christian Aid worker in Malawi to find out first-hand what conditions were actually like in Malawi. The phone call was relayed to those present over a loudspeaker and that provided another sense of what a difference simply changing crops can make. With the improved value and reliability of pigeon peas, farmers’ hands have also been strengthened to band together in co-operatives and negotiate better prices for their crops. The 2018 Bishop’s Harvest Appeal is hoping to be an answer to the farmers’ prayers.
Materials available on www.harvestappeal.org from 15 June.
Photos from the launch: https://www.flickr.com/gp/arunkat/MM4kA3