What We Do
Natural Farm Training Center
The Natural Farm Training Center teaches practical, low-cost methods of growing nutritious food without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. The farm includes a garden, a permaculture food forest, an aquaponics unit, and several animal care areas. Situated on less than two acres, the combination of farming techniques is an example of how a farmer could grow enough food for a large family, and still have extra to sell. Many people in the world suffer from malnutrition because of low quality soils, lack of knowledge about how to restore soil, and lack of understanding about growing food without soil. The ability to effectively grow animal protein in small spaces with little odor can be helpful to many families across the world. Our goal is to equip missionaries with low-cost methods that will help spread farming skills to needy families. Natural farming is one way to meet the physical needs of people, while also opening the doors to tell people about Jesus.
Permaculture, or permanent agriculture, is a way of designing a plan for using small pieces of land to efficiently grow what a person or family needs. This includes firewood, medicinal plants, and food. Our demonstration and teaching area is a permaculture food forest that includes tropical fruit, sugar cane, high-protein moringa trees, medicinal plants like aloe and comfrey, and herbs like chives and rosemary. All of the natural farming methods, including composting and munching are incorporated. Permaculture techniques can help produce sustainable production of essentials for families by effective moisture management, growing plants in multiple layers, and reducing labor after the area is established. Permaculture planning can be the basis for helping families and small communities be more sustainable.
Aquaponics combines raising fish (Aquaculture) with growing plants in water (Hydroponics). This is done using no soil in a recycling water system. Beneficial bacteria convert the ammonia produced by the fish into nitrates which feeds the plants. By absorbing the nitrates, the plants clean the water which is then returned back into the fish tank. As the water falls from the plant rafts back into the fish tank it absorbs oxygen which aerates the water for the fish, plants, and bacteria. Aquaponics is a way of growing food where there is poor soil, limited space, or shortage of good water. Aquaponics makes it possible to grow more food in less space, using no soil, all while using 90% less water than in ground agriculture. There are several different mothods of Aquaponics systems which allow us to demonstrate, teach, and experiment to find optimal growing infromation to take to the nations. All of our vegetables and herbs grown using Aquaponics are used by our campus cafeteria, and the tilapia we raise are available to staff families.