Posted by & filed under In the News, Organic Gardening.

 Organic Farming Benefits without money?

With no money, no land, no problem:  Building a dream in Zambia

 

Building  A Dream in Zambia

Building A Dream in Zambia

 

I want to introduce you to Jerry Kufuna who is building a dream in Zambia.  He is a leader in Zambia, as well as one of our community members here at HIS Farm.org.  Creating mini organic farms as well as larger scale farms, Jerry is well on his way to building his dream.   Jerry Lives in Zambia, and has a Passion for Agriculture.  Since we are all connected together, we wanted to share his story.  But We will let Jerry Share his Passion and Purpose!  Fr

 

Here is his story:

 

MINI FARMS DEVELOPMENT  (Organic Farming)

After being a Pastor and doing community work among poor people for more than 25 years, I discovered that the best way to empower our people is through Agriculture.

We just have to go back to the land! And Organic Farming is the way to go…especially when we use locally available material.

I discovered that Africans know what they need to develop their economy .We need to give them the tools to do that. And one of the tools is information or education. Relevant information!!  Something that works for Africa.

“I know of no pursuit in which more real service can be rendered to any country than by improving it`s agriculture”

GEORGE WASHINGTON – AMERICAN  STATESMAN AND PRESIDENT (1732-1799)

 

My desire is to develop a Mini Farm Prototype, multiply that and spread it in all ten provinces of our nation and other nations through others. What I am doing is a launching pad or springboard to the rest of Africa.

 

Organic Farm Zambia

We need to grow(develop) so that we can help many more of our people. We are still a small project with lots of potential to reach our nation and Africa.

In order to do that we need Partners.

The Government of Zambia recognizes our Project. We are helping them do a few projects like Tree Planting.

Recently I was given an Award from the President of the Republic of Zambia for Tree Planting and Environmental Protection.

I am at the moment developing a base from where we can reach the nation.  It is a Demonstration farm plot, for the farmer.

Our farm is a place where the following is done on a smaller scale

We would like to develop all I mention below.

1.Research

Discovering new ways of doing the old things. Information, fresh ideas etc.

 

2.Production

Developing products from raw material. Manufacturing finished products. Promoting the cottage industry.

3.Outreach

Reaching out to farmers where they live, with resources, information etc. Providing extension services.

4.Consultancy

Helping people (farmers) interpret and fulfill their dreams. Providing market ,information, financing etc.

5.Training

Equipping the people for the task of rebuilding the nations through agriculture.

 

My dream is to prove to our people that agriculture is the way to go if we want a lot of things to change in Africa.

 Agriculture will answer a lot of questions Africans are asking eg.Hunger,Unemployment,Lack of Capital,Forex etc

Our project does the following(on a small scale)

1.Food security:it provides food security.

2.Jobs:it  creates employment for our people

3.Income:it gives us an income.

4.Raw material: it provides raw material for the cottage industry. Manufacturing industry.

5.Foreign exchange: it helps us develop foreign exchange to finance imports.

6.Purchasing power: it shall help develop purchasing power for the majority of our people.

7.Surplus capital: it gives us surplus capital to finance other areas of industry development etc.

 

At the moment we are using ten pieces of land that are 50×50 meters each. We need to grow(develop) that so that we can take the project to other places.

We also have other pieces of land……533 hectares in total. That will be for commercial farming so that they can support the project in the future.

 

Our people usually find it easier to imitate what they can see working. That is why the whole project is like one big classroom.

We have been working with a number of farmers in our area- promoting organic farming.

We raise goats, free-range chickens, vegetables, grain, herbs, spices and fruits.

All these are on a smaller-scale.

This year we are also planting about 20,000 tree seedlings for our tree-planting exercise in this town.

 

My dream is to see this project develop into something like a university.  Teaching others through hands on experience and learning-centered methods, a place where people learn by doing. It will be like a Long-Distance/Open University facility for the Farmer.

 

In order to develop we need the following:

  • Electricity.  We have no power on the plot.
  • Boreholes for water. Most of our farming is done during rainy season.
  • Drip Irrigation equipment
  • Roofing Sheets and timber to build Food Processing shelters
  • Greenhouse
  • Fencing for security. We need to protect the property…….fencing-off even our animals and chickens, etc
  • Goats. Our Goat population is only 8. We desire to grow our Goat project, so that we can give from it (like we do with Chickens).
  • Chickens. We need to develop our Chicken Bank. We give and sell from there.
  • Incubators. The ones we have are manual. We need automatic-turning Incubators.
  • Accommodation for students. That will be used to accommodate small numbers of students for short courses.
  • Classrooms and Administration Block
  • Accommodations for staff. We need to stay on the property.
  • Skilled man power. That could be volunteer or full-time.
  • Transport. Our car broke down more than two years ago.We need a van and a car.
  • Simple tools
  • Information

Our focus is to reach the young people as we reach the adults. Our concern is: What type of young people are we going to leave for this great continent?

We have already helped so many. Teaching all sorts of things: Food Production and Processing.

We also need to have this project self-sustaining after a few years.

 

 

We are dedicated to help others discover organic farming benefits, even on a budget.  One way to do this economically is by using food4wealth growing system  The link for you is www.hisfarm.org/food4weatlh and it is how we grow the small garden in a mobile home park.

By working together, we will be making a difference in the world by implementing organic farming practices.

We are going to start recommending more products that may help you create your farm.  A portion of the net profits will go to Jerry’s Zambia project, as well as other projects that you share with our community members also!

If you want to contact Jerry Directly with some help,  here is his email:   [email protected] Or you can leave a comment with questions or offers of help for Zambia at the end of this post.

We are all connected together in this world.   I am so excited to read Jerry’s story and look forward to seeing the Vision that God has given him come to fruition.

 

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under Farm Equipment.

 

Now that we have our 40 acres, we are looking at the best tools that will help us build the farm.  Since we are growing in a cold environment, we are going to build a greenhouse first.  Our greenhouse will be built in the ground with the south facing wall being made of greenhouse film.

A List of What our Farming Tractor need to do

Here is a list of our requirements for a tractor:

  1. Be able to dig trenches for water lines
  2. Be able to dig a foundation
  3. Have a large bucket to move dirt and create tiers inside the greenhouse
  4. Be able to unload pallets off of a flatbed truck
  5. Pull up old fence posts
  6. Build a driveway
  7. Install a grey water tank
  8. Clean ditches
  9. Move logs
  10. Install scaffolding
  11. Lift up large beams during construction
  12. Much more…….

 

Our research showed that we would really like a compact tractor with a backhoe attachment as well as

  • A bucket
  • Drag blade for removing snow from the driveway in the winter
  • Fork lift attachment
  • Post hole auger
  • Diesel engine
  • Quality construction
  • Easy to maintain and get parts for.

We really like the idea of the bobcat style tractor, but the cost is above our budget.  The more we spend on the tractor, the less we have to spend on the greenhouse and the seeds and starts for our farm.

Due to the fact that we have a limited budget, we started looking for used equipment.  We went to the local farm and tractor business and found some great deals.  The compact tractor that we really liked, did not have the backhoe attachment, but did have the bucket.  The cost as it was is “ONLY” $17,500.  Wow!  This was a great deal from all of the research that we had done for a newer tractor.

We found our Farming Tractor Solution

Backhoe for farming tractor

Backhoe for farming tractor

Our final decision was to search through the local papers and craigslist ads to find a solution.  It took a couple of weeks, but then the perfect tractor showed up!

We found  a used International backhoe from the early 1960’s.  We drove to the farm to inspect the backhoe.  It isn’t that pretty, but everything works!   The attachments are tight and all of the controls work like they should.  The controls are a bit different than what I was use to.  The tractor ran great, but it is gas powered.  So after taking a lunch break, we talked about the backhoe to make sure that it will do all that we need it to accomplish.

It does, especially the part of affordability.  From all of the searching we did, this tractor was the best price.  We spent less than 1/3 of the price of a newer used tractor with only one attachment.  We can still purchase parts and it will accomplish all that we need during the building phase of our project.

 

Transporting our new farming tractor

One of the biggest questions we had when we were going to purchase a tractor, was how to transport it to the farm.  We got quotes for having someone else to that, it would cost at least $1,500 to $3000, depending upon the business.

The great news for us is that the tractor is only 14 miles from our farm and we can drive it there in about 2 hours.  This may not work for you, but there are still other options.  Rent a trailer that will handle the tractor, if you have a truck that will tow it safely.  Rent a truck and trailer that will do so, or better yet, have the person or business move it for you as part of the cost of the tractor.

 

 

Eventually, as our Nutritious fruit and vegetables grow in size and popularity, we will sell this backhoe to someone else, if it makes financial sense.

It is always a surprise when the exact tool we need shows up at the price that we can afford.  Keep looking for what you need, It takes Grit to be able to wait for just the right one.

It took us 3 1/2 hours to drive the tractor from where we purchased it to the farm.  But we have already used the backhoe to prepare our well head for protection from the cold weather.  We need to keep our water lines 8 feet below the surface to keep them from freezing on our new farm!  What a great Journey!

One of the best tools that we have is our  mindset.  There are many times we could choose to worry or second guess our decisions.  However, we chose and continue to choose a positive mindset. One where we have the time to make a good decision, but not get stuck in “Analysis Paralysis”.  One of the best tools that I use that has helped me to enjoy each day and move forward is “The Miracle Mindshift” course.  I invite you to try it for yourself!

 

Today is a Great Day!

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com

Posted by & filed under Land.

How we chose to buy farmland was based on price, quality and availability of water.  Price was a major factor as we are “Bootstrapping” our move once again.  Bootstrapping means being frugal with the money you have and purchase what you can afford to buy without incurring more debt.

image

The difference that we have this time, is that we are working with a friend who has the same dream and vision as us.  To build a farm that produces Healthy Natural nutritious food that goes beyond all of the buzz words of today.  Better quality than Certified Organic.  Better than what some companies call “Natural”.

So with that said, we do have 40 acres to start with. The well water that is already on the land is tested and very pure.  Good quality water without chemicals or contaminants!!!  Yahoo!   The next step was to have a place to live while building the green house.  Why a greenhouse you ask?  The land is 8,400 feet in elevation.  It is cold in the winter and the outdoor growing season is very short.  That being said, a greenhouse is a great way to grow food year round.

For the past month, we have been searching for a good quality camping trailer to live in while building.  We were finally successful, after looking at many options.  The costs were anywhere from $800 for basically a bed, cook top and no bathroom all the way to over $100,000 for a 36 foot trailer that the walls slide out and create a home on wheels.  Bigger that most apartments in a big city!!

 

Remember I told you that we are bootstrapping our way forward right?  Well, that left out the majority of trailers for sale.  But I knew that the right one was waiting for us!  And it was!

I have included pictures of the trailer on the farm, next to the well.  We got a great deal on the trailer, it is perfect for us.  Clean, everything works and it is a roof over our heads!   We moved it up to the property this last Wednesday, July 3rd.

We had to install a 5th wheel hitch on our truck, and that was straight forward.  A friend of mine gifted us the hitch, Thank you Brian, then we only had to purchase the rails to hold the hitch securely in the bed of the truck.

I could bolt the back brackets to the frame of the truck, but the front ones needed to be welded.  I went to Knob Hill Welding at 612 Juanita St Colorado Springs, CO 80909 (719) 471-3964.  Ray, the owner is 83 years old and bounces around like a younger man!  When I find a business that treats you this well, I just have to share!

So if you are in Colorado Springs area, this is a great business.  Back to moving the trailer.  I still had to install the brake controller so that the brakes would work on the trailer.  That took another couple of hours, but it worked flawlessly.  I love it when the items you purchase work like they are supposed to.

The trailer pulled very nicely, and now it is located on the property.  We spent about 1 hour finding the right place to temporarily set the trailer.  It is level front to back and side to side.

We still need to properly prepare the trailer before we move anything into it.  Since there is no electricity or phone available to the property, we are also looking for alternative power options. I have built a generator with some new steel and recycled lawnmower engine.

We will be using the Food4Weatlh system for some of our beds.  We are also adding fruit trees to our green house with the plans to add a more tropical environment for a second greenhouse to be built later.

We are already contacting potential customers in the restaurant business, as well as local customers who are looking for good quality food.  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is the model we are following.

We will be sharing more as we continue to move forward on our Journey!  What you are doing to grow your own food, whether you are in a small apartment or on a large farm.  What are your thoughts about getting the best nutrition from food you grow or buy?

Today is a Great Day!

 

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com

Posted by & filed under Hydroponics.

Organic Hydroponic Gardening can create great nutrition.  The only difference between organic hydroponics and regular hydroponics is what you choose to feed your plants. This page will cover some organic feeding options for hydroponics systems.  I will also talk about water.  Clean pure water is important as part of an organic growing garden.  Whether it is hydroponic, Aquaponic or growing in organic soil!

Clean, Healthy water is essential for Organic Hydroponic Gardening

Organic Hydroponic system

Organic Hydroponic system

 

First, let’s talk about water.  If the water coming from your tap is full of contaminants, then you need to filter the water before you use it to grow your food.

One item many people overlook though is the source of their water.  You really want to make sure that you have good water.  I have a friend who watered his new Ghost Pepper plant from the garden hose.  He shared that the chlorine smell from their water supply is very strong. His Ghost Pepper plant became a ghost.   So to get your plants to thrive, you need to understand the entire ecosystem that you are building!

Basic Water Treatment Chemicals and processes

 

Water Treatment is an increasingly complex function of water treatment plants.  Anyone pursuing an understanding  of what the EPA and Safe Drinking water act entails, including laboratory testing, hydraulics, mathematics, chemistry, water transmission, disinfection, and microbiology.  Contaminants that are found in water distribution system and water treatment plant vary, depending upon what the local governments can afford and are forced to do to comply with the government regulations.

 

Chemicals used to treat water may also have side effects. In the process of disinfection, byproducts are formed. Bromate, chlorite, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes are byproducts of water disinfection. These chemicals are linked to an increased risk of cancer, anemia, liver problems, kidney problems and effects on the nervous system. According to the EPA, these risks exists for people who drink water with chemical levels in excess of the EPA’s standard.

 

 

Water University is a great place to get the exact help and good prices for your water quality needs.  You can get there by going to www.hisfarm.org/wateruniversity.

 

Organic Hydroponic Gardening Nutrients

Many people are concerned that hydroponic gardening can only use chemicals and may not be organic.  That is not true!   You can make a tea from manures!  You will be monitoring the pH of the nutrients that you are adding, to ensure that you do not add too much at one time.

So what kind of “Tea” do you use?

Johnathon Wood from Majestic Hydrogardening  shared with me some of his favorite Organic nutrients.

I prefer natural products for teas such as BAT GUANO, MARINE MINERAL MAGIC and BOUNTEA BETTER BLOOM M3. I will also use a tea from rabbit manure, but not chicken manure as it can be too hot for the plants if not monitored properly.  I grow for enjoyment, while my passion is to teach others how to grow their own food and become self-sufficient.

Nutrition for our food starts with providing good nutrition for our food.  Healthy Soil, Healthy seeds, healthy water, and a healthy environment all create a healthy body when you eat what you grow.

 

Why Organic Hydroponic Gardening?

 

Organic hydroponic gardening uses 85% less water that conventional growing methods.  You control everything that goes into your plants nmake up.  Healthy plants give you healthy nutrition.  We all need protien and plant foods contain complete proteins.   This means that they contain all the “essential” amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. You will get all the protein – as well as all the amino acids – you need on a diet composed exclusively of plant foods. Think about it. Plants are the only foods eaten by elephants, horses, and hippos, buffalo, oxen and Elk and moose.  All of these animals have no trouble growing all the muscle, bone, and tissue they need. So there’s enough protein in plant foods to grow a human being, especially since we are relatively small when compared to a moose or buffalo.

 

Is hydroponic gardening right for you?  It is for many people, and for those of you living in a city or have access to a big roof, absolutely!

Today is a great day to think about your health and the health of your family.  Once you understand how simple hydroponics is, you may not want to grow any other way.

 

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com

 

 

Posted by & filed under In the News.

 

I have been asked quite a bit about marketing for Small scale farming and commercial gardening.  Marketing for small scale farming success is very important.

Beth from Kenya Africa sent us this email after an email I sent regarding marketing:

“Thank-you for such great insight. I live in Kenya Africa and I am passionate to farming. But marketing has always been my greatest challenge. How can I employ the CSA for success. Thank-you.”

 

So let me share with you the email I sent out about the Fires we are having close to my home and how I see the smoke and how it compares to marketing:

 

 

Joseph Marsh followed the Black Forest Fire and posted this photo just south  of the evacuation zone. (Credit: Joseph Marsh/Twitter)

Joseph Marsh followed the Black Forest Fire and posted this photo just south
of the evacuation zone. (Credit: Joseph Marsh/Twitter)

 

 

We are surrounded by fires once again here in Colorado. My
wife and I are in the voluntary evacuation zone.   Smoke fills the
skies and brings confusion and doubt to many.

So how does that help you create a profitable small scale
farm?  How is marketing a tool to use?

 

Have you heard the term CSA? Community Supported Agriculture?
This is one way to create marketing for small scale farming success.  This is  marketing method where you actually partner with your
customers and pre-sell your products: Produce, fruit, tools,
services.  You are actually becoming partners with your
customers before they receive their products.

But to do this effectively, they must Know, Like and Trust you.

Marketing for small scale farming is not smoke and mirrors.

Just as the smoke brings confusion and uncertainty,  the marketing of today brings about confusion.  There appears to be so much “smoky”
marketing, to know what is healthy and beneficial is clouded by hype and
splashy headlines.

Marketing is a way to reach those people who want what
you grow or produce.  It is a process of meeting those people and sharing
with them the quality of what you have and the Benefits of what
you have to give them in exchange for value or appreciation.  We
use money, whether it is in the form of cash, credit card payment
or by trading (exchange) for what you need.

We do what we do, not just to make money, but to make a
difference in other peoples lives.   Yes,money is nice since we use
it to pay for living and growing, but it is not the end
all of our efforts.  How many people do you know
live a healthy life eating money?

Marketing is meant to build relationships with your
customers.  Find out what they want and need, so that you can
supply it to them.

So my point is this:

Get to know your customer. Build a relationship with them, then
over deliver on what you have promised.

Think about the businesses that you support.  The ones that you love
to go to and rave about, if that is the type of business
that you want to grow. Then Build a profitable small scale farm by
creating value and marketing honestly about who you are and what you produce.

 

You can see how the smoke draws your attention away from the rest of the picture.  Your customers may be looking for one solution.  You may have THE solution for them, you just need to share your dream and plan with them.

But for CSA’s, the hope and risk is dependent upon how you set up your business and who you partner with.

 

Community supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to market your products and services.

Local Harvest (http://www.localharvest.org/csa/)  Shared this following article about Community Supported Agriculture.  I have read many articles, and have plans for a good CSA.  I have been blessed to speak and interview many people who have started their own CSA.  Just as with any business, there is risk, but when you are truly serving your customers, it becomes a community.  Read the article from Local harvest!

 

For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief…

Advantages for farmers:

  • Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
  • Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
  • Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow

Advantages for consumers:

  • Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
  • Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
  • Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
  • Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
  • Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown

It’s a simple enough idea, but its impact has been profound. Tens of thousands of families have joined CSAs, and in some areas of the country there is more demand than there are CSA farms to fill it. The government does not track CSAs, so there is no official count of how many CSAs there are in the U.S.. LocalHarvest has the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 4,000 listed in our grassroots database.

Variations
As you might expect with such a successful model, farmers have begun to introduce variations. One increasingly common one is the “mix and match,” or “market-style” CSA. Here, rather than making up a standard box of vegetables for every member each week, the members load their own boxes with some degree of personal choice. The farmer lays out baskets of the week’s vegetables. Some farmers encourage members to take a prescribed amount of what’s available, leaving behind just what their families do not care for. Some CSA farmers then donate this extra produce to a food bank. In other CSAs, the members have wider choice to fill their box with whatever appeals to them, within certain limitations. (e.g. “Just one basket of strawberries per family, please.”)

CSAs aren’t confined to produce. Some farmers include the option for shareholders to buy shares of eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies. Sometimes several farmers will offer their products together, to offer the widest variety to their members. For example, a produce farmer might create a partnership with a neighbor to deliver chickens to the CSA drop off point, so that the CSA members can purchase farm-fresh chickens when they come to get their CSA baskets. Other farmers are creating standalone CSAs for meat, flowers, eggs, and preserved farm products. In some parts of the country, non-farming third parties are setting up CSA-like businesses, where they act as middle men and sell boxes of local (and sometimes non-local) food for their members.

Shared Risk
There is an important concept woven into the CSA model that takes the arrangement beyond the usual commercial transaction. That is the notion of shared risk: in most CSAs, members pay up front for the whole season and the farmers do their best to provide an abundant box of produce each week. If things are slim, members are not typically reimbursed. The result is a feeling of “we’re in this together”. On some farms the idea of shared risk is stronger than others, and CSA members may be asked to sign a policy form indicating that they agree to accept without complaint whatever the farm can produce.

Many times, the idea of shared risk is part of what creates a sense of community among members, and between members and the farmers. If a hailstorm takes out all the peppers, everyone is disappointed together, and together cheer on the winter squash and broccoli. Most CSA farmers feel a great sense of responsibility to their members, and when certain crops are scarce, they make sure the CSA gets served first. Still, it is worth noting that very occasionally things go wrong on a farm – like they do in any kind of business – and the expected is not delivered, and members feel shortchanged. At LocalHarvest we are in touch with CSA farmers and members from all over the country. Every year we hear get complaints about a few CSA farms (two to six farms a year, over the last nine years) where something happened and the produce was simply unacceptable. It might have been a catastrophic divorce, or an unexpected death in the family. Or the weather was abominable, or the farmer was inexperienced and got in over his/her head.

In our experience, if the situation seems regrettable but reasonable – a bad thing that in good faith could have happened to anyone – most CSA members will rally, if they already know and trust the farmer. These people are more likely to take the long view, especially if they have received an abundance of produce in the past. They are naturally more likely to think, “It’ll be better next year,” than are new members who have nothing to which to compare a dismal experience. The take-home message is this: if the potential for “not getting your money’s worth” makes you feel anxious, then shared risk may not be for you and you should shop at the farmers market

 

 

From this article, you can see how marketing is really a tool to communicate with others about your passion and how you serve others.  The media  and  “Marketing Agencies” complete intensive studies on how to get people to buy.  They spend millions of dollars to pinpoint who is going to purchase, when they will purchase, and who makes the decision to purchase.

Healthy Organic and nutritious food is becoming once again a very important issue.

Thank you for taking the time to research and decide to be part of the Solution community.

 

If you just want to grow your own food but do not know how to start, I recommend  Food4Weath (for growing the easy way).  I have been using  the food4wealth system to greatly reduce my workload in the garden.  The system works great for me.

 

Have a Great Day

Turning Your Dreams into the Life of Your Dreams

Chris Downs, the Caretaker

Founder hisfarm.org and Ambassador of Natural News and Sustainable Living on How to Live on Purpose.com