Canada and the US have children going hungry, even in affluent cities.
Some studies indicate that one child in six or as many as one child in five are going to school hungry.
We don’t notice children living on the streets in affluent cities, though adults and teenagers are out there.
There may be more than children and families living in tents and vehicles
The numbers are considerably more dire in many parts of the world. Conservative estimates have the number of children living in the streets of India as well over 1o million.
One of the reasons I created the Food Connection Network is that I have been helping a church in India to house, feed, and educate orphaned children.
Without help, many of the children would be living in the streets or in abusive situations.
Money Is A Short-Term Solution
A great thing about sending money to India is that the $100 that would barely cover dinner for two at The Keg Steakhouse would go a long way towards feeding many children at the orphanage for days.
The orphanage estimates that costs about $70 to feed, clothe, and educate a child for a month.
The orphanage struggles to have enough food for the children every week, so a gift of any amount now would be very much needed and appreciated.
Note: The PayPal account will say Shared Visions Unlimited.
I am not a registered charity and simply someone trying to help.
Any money intended to buy food is sent through Western Union.
You can contact Pastor Manovah directly at +91 88679 67065 if you want to know more or make direct contributions.
See more information about the orphanage on Eventbrite.
The problem with just sending money for food is that it is unsustainable.
The only way the children get fed is that there is a steady stream of donations.
Setting the orphanage up grow its own food may not meet all its food needs, but it will certainly reduce the dire dependence on donations.
And there are some community wide benefits as well.
Sustainability Project Roadmap
Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.
We are substituting growing food for fishing here.
Here are some of the implementation steps starting with the easiest and least expensive.
Sprouting seeds is easy to do indoors all year round
Growing Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables in Containers
You can grow amazing amount of food in small spaces using containers such as buckets, planters, boxes, bags, and other containers that can be reused from materials at hand or purchased.
Growing Food in Small Plots
Any area on the property that has a garden bed, grass or other ground-cover, can be used to grow food.
Ornamental plants can be replaced with edible fruit shrubs and vegetables.
Edible flowers can be both beautiful AND tasty!
There are a few Urban Farming organizations in Vancouver and other cities that are growing food on residential properties by replacing all grass and flower gardens with edible plants.
The produce is sold at local Farmer’s Markets. What is not sold is donated to local food banks and charities.
The same approach can be used to feed hungry children.
Growing Food in Wall Planters
You can use hanging planters to take advantage of vertical space.
Espaliered Fruit Trees
A European practice is to train fruit tries to grow on a fence, wall, or trellis to minimize space.
There may be places on the orphanage property that would work for espaliered fruit trees.
The challenge with growing vegetables in many parts of the world is that there are often shortages of water or bursts of rain.
Here are some solutions that may be needed:
- Collecting rain in rain barrels for use later.
- Capturing grey water to use in the garden.
- Choosing plants that are drought tolerant.
- Learn techniques from indigenous peoples living in desert environments.
- Consider new technologies that extract water from the air.
Volunteers and Staff Can Help Too
Imagine how much food could be grown if every volunteer and staff member used the space and resources of their homes to grow food.
Small steps climb tall mountains.
Community Based Food Sustainability Solutions
The following project models are used around the world to increase food security.
They all involve cooperation among various groups and local government.
Planting Editable Gardens in Public Spaces
I have been involved with many projects in North Vancouver to grow food on land managed by local cities.
I have former North Vancouver City Mayor Darrell Mussatto on video saying that he wanted to replace every other street in North Vancouver with vegetable gardens.
While that plan is unlikely, he was very supportive of many projects that used municipal lands and adjusting bylaws to support raising food in the city.
Many cities in North America will provide space for Community Gardens where individuals can use planter boxes for growing.
Unused rail lines and roadways can also be used to grow food.
Growing Food on Unused Commercial Space
Although real estate in Vancouver is insanely expensive, there are still commercial locations such as closed gas stations and lots in transition that are used to grow food in containers.
One of the most famous and impressive examples if this is Will Allen’s Growing Power projects.
Will Allen started with an unused parking lot in a gritty part of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where drug-dealers, prostitutes, and youth hung out.
He transformed the wasteland into an area that grew food.
More than that, the project helped transform the community and the lives of many who lived there. Many of the drug-dealers and prostitutes began helping with the urban farming and adopted healthier career choices.
The same model has been used in other cities in the US and around the world.
Food Rescue Projects
A shocking amount of food that is grown does not get eaten.
Some edible parts of crops are left on the field to rot.
More is culled out before shipping to market.
Vendors will toss out perfectly edible produce because of minor flaws or a new delivery.
Produce in the home refrigerator will often not be used and get tossed out.
Much of the world’s food shortages could be eliminated by simply avoiding food waste.
I have been involved with many projects designed to reduce waste and feed people with food that would otherwise be thrown out or composted.
Here are some steps that can be done locally:
- Ask produce vendors if they have any produce that they will not sell and could be donated to feed children.
- Ask restaurants if they can donate surplus food that could feed children or composted to grow food.
- Ask local farmers if they have surplus food to donate.
Start Local Food Sustainability Projects
One long-term goal of the Food Connection Network is to help initiate community food sustainability projects such as growing food in available spaces and food rescue.
Most can be started small and locally with a little knowledge and intention.
Others will take considerable planning and cooperation.
Beyond the Orphanage Pilot Project
While the initial focus is to help a small number of children in need at the orphanage in India, the Big Plan is to do much more.
I would like to see the orphanage work with other community groups across all faith traditions to help provide food and hope for their children.
What starts in one community can grow into other communities.
Imagine the possibilities!
How You Can Help
There are many ways that you can help the Food Connection Network make a difference in the world.
Sometimes encouragement to carry on can go a long way.
Content Contributions and Suggestions
Do you want to write related articles for inclusion at foodconnection.network?
Know of projects and informative articles that would be good links to include?
All suggestions welcome.
Help With Project Implementation
Do you have skills and resources you can contribute to any of the project steps described above?
Help With Sponsorship or Fundraising
Would you like to sponsor some of the project activities or the Food Connection Network itself. Lets talk about creating win-win relationships.
Can you help coordinate fund-raising?
Do you have a related project and see room for complementary collaboration?
Make a Donation
Small donations can help provide food relief for the children in the short term and support the
Long-term help includes:
- Providing information about how the orphanage can grow its own food.
- Money for seeds, plants, containers, tools, and soil to help grow.
- Help to start and
- Possible travel to India to help with training and implementation.
Please consider making a financial contribution to help.
All amounts will help and are appreciated.
You can choose how you would like the money used.
Keep In Touch
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about this project, the Food Connection Network, or your projects.