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Domestic Farm Training

It's a new year, and with that comes the natural urge to explore new ideas. This month we explored a new possibility here at ITEC: what if we can multiply our efforts by equipping Christ followers in the US with the ability to take farm training to places around the world where they have relationships. During the first week of February, both local Christ followers and others coming from churches outside of Florida came together on the ITEC campus to experience the same Farm training we provide overseas. The first day of training began with introductions and expectations, then it was full steam ahead. Stewardship of the land (conservation agriculture) and finances are the two tenets of the Farm training, with the first lessons each day coming from the Crown Money Map. Presented in an African setting, the goal of Crown's curriculum is to both inspire trainees to see that they can have financial freedom and show them the reality of challenges that may stand in their way. In these lessons, trainees follow an African man named Henry through a series of stories and scenarios that deeply resonate with Christ followers in Africa. As Americans, we were able to follow Henry's story and see that, while our cultural practices look different and our experiences aren't exactly the same as his, we often face the same obstacles and situations. Debt, stewardship, wise spending, and giving are taught from a spiritual and practical perspective during the Crown Money Map portion of the Farm training. During the training at ITEC, trainees got their hands dirty making compost and turning it at the end of the week. They also learned land preparation and had the opportunity to plant corn and winter peas with both traditional fertilizer and compost, so they can observe the differences and similarities during and after the growing season. The week of training ended the same way that it would overseas: with a graduation ceremony and each receiving a certificate, giving them the full experience of an ITEC training.   [caption id="attachment_7531" align="alignleft" width="300"] Turning the compost pile[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7532" align="alignleft" width="300"] Measuring out lime with bottle caps[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7533" align="alignleft" width="300"] Classroom instruction[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7534" align="alignleft" width="300"] Planting seeds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7536" align="alignleft" width="300"] ITEC compost area[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7535" align="alignleft" width="300"] Trainer Matt demonstrating proper hole digging technique[/caption]                     Often times farmers in the developing world feel they cannot farm properly or effectively because they lack access to GMO seeds, farming equipment, and technology. By implementing the key principles of conservation agriculture (permanent soil cover with mulch or cover crops, minimum soil disturbance, and crop rotation), trainees learn that God has already provided everything they need to grow their crops. Rotating between lessons on financial freedom and conservation agriculture, our trainers gave the trainees a holistic view of what it means to be a good steward, and a reminder of the grace of God to entrust us with His creation. We honor God with our stewardship of the land He has made and the material resources He has placed in our hands. Our desire is to see our domestic Farm training participants share the training with Christ followers around the world. If you or your church are exploring new possibilities with your missions strategy this year, we would love to connect with you and show you how training can make a long-term impact on a short-term trip. To learn more, visit our Equipping page. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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