On the cover of October Blessings we feature a sustainable gardening story about a Guatemalan village that had been buried by a volcanic eruption. Our team invested in building materials and after several months of training, the villagers are harvesting bumper crops of vegetables, and best of all they can now manage and replicate the growing beds on their own.
The Guatemala project follows the “teach a man to fish” principal of sustainability. We have launched sustainable agriculture programs in an increasing number of countries that are now running on their own, producing food and income long after our teams have left.
Fish ranching is the best example of sustainable food security that I have ever seen. Unlike fish farming, where fish are raised in tight quarters and fed high-protein food so they can grow as fast as possible, fish ranching works in open ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Massive numbers of baby tilapia are released to forage on their own. Tilapia are herbivores and thrive grazing on algae the same way that cattle or horses graze on grass. Fish that cost a dime grow into fish worth $5 or more in less than a year.
We are pioneering fish ranching in Haiti working with the Haitian Department of Agriculture as well as a faith-based local charity that builds lakes and reservoirs. Our goal is to populate these and other barren public waters all over Haiti with tilapia. We have already planted well over 500,000. As they grow and mature, fishermen will catch many to feed their families and to sell for income, but many will survive, breed and multiply for years to come. This strategy has been hugely successful in many other countries, and it will be successful here.
As a supporter of Operation Blessing you are part of this modern day “loaves and fishes” story. You are truly partners in our efforts to feed the multitudes!