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Saturday, September 21, 2019

The heart of Project Canaan is pumping again

Many people think that Project Canaan is all about our children, but some of us would disagree with that.  Project Canaan is so much more than a home for orphaned and abandoned children, it is truly a place of hope in many other ways.

When the drought hit in 2016 the country was devastated.  We had to suspend our farming initiative and I distinctly remember all of the irrigation drip tape being rolled up from the fields and the pipes being put away. It was very depressing.  We had just finished building the greenhouse where we had planned to start a hydroponics program, but there wasn’t even enough water to do that, and so it sat empty.  It wasn’t until our friend Billy Nolan from North Point Community Church asked if we had heard of Aquaponics (which we hadn’t) that we were able to at least start working on that project while we waited for rain and started the monster project of bringing water from the top of our mountain.

While the rains have not yet come, we are now water secure and we have been able to fill our dams, roll out the irrigation drip tape and start planting crops again.  Our greenhouse is full to overflowing with all the tomatoes/cucumbers/peas/red peppers and broccoli that we can eat (and sell).  The aquaponics system is providing us fresh tilapia fish and all different types of organic lettuce that we serve every day. It’s simply wonderful.

Ian checking out the newly planted beet root
But when I say that the heart of Project Canaan is beating again, it is the whole agriculture part of the farm that I am referring to.  We live on a farm, and when nothing is growing on a farm it is disheartening and depressing for all.  The farm is the heartbeat of Project Canaan and while there is a buzz throughout the project as everyone sees the spinach and cabbage flourishing in the fields, it is the rows and rows of beet root that has got everyone talking.

Who would think that beet root would be something that we talk about every day?  I sure didn’t. In fact, Ian is down in the greenhouse and fields multiple times a day to oversee this incredible new crop. We have hired a Farm Consultant from Zimbabwe and he is an expert in his field (and now in our fields 😂) and he is passionate about all things agriculture.   We have a customer who will buy as much beet root as we can produce, so we are planting 150,000 beet root seeds every two weeks in the green house.  They live in the greenhouse for three weeks and then they get moved outside for a week to “harden”, then they get planted in the fields.

We planted our first 150,000 seedings this week and will plant another 150,000 in two weeks. We will start harvesting the beets in eight weeks and then “double crop” the field by preparing and replanting it again.  In the next 12 months we will produce and sell more than 1,100 tons of fresh beet root, which will help feed the country, and also help generate income for Project Canaan.

In addition to this, the beet greens (tops of the beets which are extremely high in nutritional value) will be cut off and distributed to our church partners to add to our child feeding program, providing extra nutrition to children around the country.

The heart of Project Canaan is beating again, and this would not be possible without the 9.5 KM (6 miles) of piping which brings water from the top of our mountain.  Without water security we would not been able to risk the investment for the beet root with the knowledge that the rains still may not come.

Water isn’t just for the crops though, it’s for our swimming pools!!! Now that we have lots of water, and summer has arrived, the pools are open and our sprinklers on on!!  I just had to throw in a cute video and couple of photos for your enjoyment.

Live from Eswatini … water is life.


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