Tag: Agriculture

How to make a soda bottle hanging basket

Each year, Convoy of Hope hands out thousands Gardens in a Bag at Community Events across the U.S. Each Garden in a Bag includes Baker Creek seeds, helpful tips and endless possibilities for Guests of Honor to start growing their own food, regardless the amount of land they have.

One way to start growing vegetables in a small space and on a small budget is vertical wall planting. Learn how to make a hanging basket out of a two-liter soda bottle below!

What you’ll need:

  • two-liter soda bottle
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Scissors
  • String

Step 1:

Cut around the body of the soda bottle until it is in two parts. Poke 2-4 holes in the bottom of the bottle for drainage and poke two holes in the sides to tie string to.

Step 2:

Fill the bottom half of the bottle with potting soil.

Step 3:

With your finger, dig a small hole in the soil. Place 2-5 seeds in the hole and then fill in the hole, overing the seeds with soil.

  • Helpful Tip: Planting multiple seeds in one spot, helps maximize the chance of sprouting.

Step 4:

Cut a long piece of string and tie each end to the holes that were cut in the side of the bottle.

Step 5: 

Hang up your new hanging basket where it will get plenty of sunlight. Make sure to read the instructions on the back of the seed packet to know how much sun and water the plant will need.

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Agriculture / Community Outreach

Growing hope: Agricultural research in partnership with Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope is partnering with Missouri State University agriculture master’s student Jordan Gott to research best practices in growing crops common for the participants in Convoy’s Agriculture Initiative.

Gott’s research centers around the timing of planting corn and lablab — a kind of bean native to Africa. Does planting them at the same time cause competition or do they help each other? Is it better to plant them at the same time or weeks apart? This information will help inform Convoy agronomists on the best way to train and educate farmers in our initiative.

From Missouri to Tanzania

The research began in a greenhouse on the MSU campus, but is now being field tested in Tanzania. With the help of Convoy of Hope staff and the ECHO global seed bank, Gott is growing and monitoring her crops in Arusha, Tanzania.

Gott had to consider some cultural and environmental differences when moving her research from Springfield, MO to Tanzania. There are differences in soil types and irrigation practices. She also had to consider cultural practices, as farmers in Tanzania always plant their corn first.

While she is working to help farmers in Tanzania, Gott is also excited to learn from them.

“I’m excited to go to Tanzania — be in the culture, meet the people and see how they do things,” Gott says. “I’m excited to keep on learning new stuff.”

Follow us for updates on Gott’s work in Tanzania.

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Students’ partner with Convoy of Hope in rocket stove competition

Students from Missouri State and Evangel University took to the Evangel courtyard Wednesday, March 21, to take part in a rocket stove competition, in partnership with Convoy of Hope.

The Applied Sustainability class, taught by Evangel Professor and Convoy of Hope Senior Director of Program Effectiveness and Training Jason Streubel, is a course designed to engage students in analyzing and solving the world’s humanitarian needs.

A rocket stove is a fuel and heat efficient stove, that uses combustion and ventilation to produce heat while conserving fuel. Usually found in developing countries, the cost efficient stove produces almost no smoke and is a staple in areas with a low supply of fuel sources.

We have a winner

Students were required to build their rocket stove out of household or repurposed items. The goal was to get the stove to boil a pot of water for 10 minutes at 100 degrees Celsius — the time and temperature required to sanitize contaminated water.

Scott McElveen, a graduate student in Missouri States Agricultural Science program, completed the ten minute boil. His rocket stove, a combination of coffee cans and aluminum foil, held 100 degrees for 14 minutes.

“If you were in a foreign country, you could drink that water,” McElveen said smiling.

How Convoy uses rocket stove technology

Convoy of Hope works in developing countries around the world through Children’s Feeding, Women’s Empowerment and Agriculture initiatives. To improve the lives of people we serve, we are beginning to implement clean stove technology.

“How do you burn a stove while being fuel efficient and heat efficient?” Streubel said. “That’s what we are trying to find out.”

Right now, a manufactured rocket stove would cost someone in Kenya about two days wages. In countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua, rocket stove materials are limited to natural resources like stone, brick, clay and cob.

One Missouri State student, Cady Goble, used cob to build her rocket stove. Her cob mixture — a combination of clay, sand and prairie grass — is a variation of what most people use to build rocket stoves in our program countries. Like many of the people we serve, Goble understands the benefits to using natural resources.

“Anyone can make it using the resources around them,” Goble said. “It’s also scalable, it could be used for someone’s home.”

Along with creativity, cost, and heat efficiency, scalability is one of the benefits Streubel analyzed.

“We want to produce this in a way that is not just good for individuals, but in a way that could provide for whole families—or even schools,” Streubel said.

Streubel is analyzing the successes and failures of the classes’ models and using them to further his team’s knowledge of rocket stoves and how to manufacture them on a larger scale. With this additional information, Convoy of Hope can continue to implement clean stove technology in the lives of the people we serve — offering cleaner, fuel efficient methods of cooking and hope for a better tomorrow.

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Join the Convoy / News

Farmers in North Dakota Find Hope in Every Harvest

Just like most farmers, Russell and Holly Edgar have experienced hardships. The Red River Flood of 1997 caused mass destruction to their land in North Dakota and they were unable to plant crops on half their farm for more than two years. They were forced to sell their equipment and rent out the farm that had been in their family since the 1800’s. But Russell knew that wasn’t the end for them.

“I started thinking about what it would take to build a dairy heifer-raising facility on our land,” Russell explains. “I would wake up some mornings with design ideas.”

In 2004, the Edgars started construction on a 3,000-head facility. Once up and running, they were able to work toward getting their land back.

“I felt like God was telling me that since he had helped us through that difficult time, it was our turn to do something for others,” Russell adds.

Russell spoke with a friend of his who worked with the grain donation program, producing food for Convoy of Hope. Bob and LeAnn Bachman explained the program to the Edgar family, who decided that pinto beans would be the best fit for the children Convoy of Hope serves.

“I decided to donate 20 acres of pinto beans to the feeding program,” Russell says. “I received tremendous favor and reached out to a local bean seed company who donated all the seeds for free.”

Since then, the Edgars continue to donate pinto beans and corn to Convoy of Hope’s Children’s Feeding Initiative serving countries like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Philippines. They are proof that there is hope in every harvest.

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Fighting Hunger through Agriculture in Nicaragua

Five years ago, Convoy of Hope launched our Agriculture Initiative to teach impoverished farmers how to grow more abundant, disease-free crops. Under the guidance of our own Dr. Jason Streubel, tens of thousands of farmers in four countries have been able to grow crops that now feed their families and produce an income when the extra harvest is sold at market.

For the last two years, Calixta Cruz has directed our Agriculture Initiative in Nicaragua. Because she came from an impoverished farming family herself, she loves teaching farmers — especially students — how to grow crops that thrive so their lives are changed for the better.

What kind of obstacles have you faced?

My father passed away when I was five years old so my brother had to work to support our family. My mom baked bread in the morning and my sister and I would help her make the bread and sell it after school. I graduated high school in 2007 and wanted to attend university, but I didn’t get a scholarship. I shared a room with six other students and worked hard my first year, then got a scholarship my second year. I graduated with the highest grades in my class. I want people to know that anything is possible.

What’s your favorite part of working for Convoy?

When I go to see the school gardens. Kids ask me to teach them about the garden and ask if they can help. Several students have gardens at home now, and they’ve shown their neighbors how to start gardens too. I like to remind the kids they have to fight for what they want and can’t let any obstacles get in their way.

What was your most memorable moment working at Convoy?

I was working with sixth graders at a school, and we were sifting through soil for our garden, taking out glass and stones. I noticed that the kids were laughing nonstop and realized they had put a dead mouse in the dirt where I was working and I grabbed it without even realizing it! It was so funny!

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I love talking with my family and I spend a lot of time thinking about work and how to improve things for the people we serve. I also enjoy going to church, the movies and hanging out with friends.

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Agriculture / Staff Spotlight