When our almighty, purposeful God created humans (Adam and Eve being the first two), He assigned them with a creative task: Every person was to be a decision-making, world-shaping caretaker of God’s creation. Earth is our home, and we are meant to live in harmony with it. God’s “creation mandate” encouraged Adam and Eve to value nature. His mandate also requires us to know and understand nature, and so we study our planet, from soil and plants to seasons and weather patterns.
God unites our ecological responsibility with a sociological command, "Love your neighbor as yourself." So we are meant to honor God’s work: We care for the earth, and we use God’s creation to love others well. As we here in Bangladesh marvel at the local foliage, and we research gardening techniques, we also consider its edible plants, and the nutritional and financial needs of villagers.
AOB’s agriculture program was begun by MCH nurse Nancie Dellaganna, who has seen and treated thousands of patients with severe nutritional needs. Seeing the needs, she researched sustainable agriculture, gathered a team to assist her, and she and her team continue to learn all they can from in-country agriculturalists and from international development organizations that focus on food-production. AOB’s agriculture team members don’t only learn. They pass it on.
Our agriculture trainers teach school students as well as farmers. Students grow their own gardens while learning about health, and they develop agricultural skills and confidence in helping their families eat well. We call this homestead food production. Our trainers draw parents and area leaders into these projects as well, so that they can unite to aid communities in managing their natural resources well.
Meanwhile, through our farming seminars, farmers discover that they can enrich their fields’ soil and feed their families well by growing coffee and vegetables side-by-side. Fruit orchards are grown, so that fruit sales can support their village’s school. Trainers help farmers boost their fields’ productivity too.
God’s commands are for our good: Let’s love His world practically, and love His people with insight.