Footsteps 110 - Farming for the future

Footsteps 110 - Farming for the future

Footsteps 110 focuses on strategies farmers can use to maintain healthy ecosystems and productive farms.

Editor's note

Jude Collins

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:31). 

When I was studying agriculture I remember being impressed by the level of order and balance in the natural world. I was fascinated by the way each living thing is made up of multiple parts and millions of cells, all working together to sustain life.  

However, plants and animals are also heavily dependent on the environment around them for survival. For example, a maize plant needs air, water, nutrients and sunlight. If it does not have these in the right balance – or if something eats it – it will not grow. 

Because all of creation is connected, if one part is harmed – for example, through deforestation – it can cause problems both locally and globally. Our use of the natural world must promote, not compromise, its ability to provide for all living creatures, now and in the future.  

In this edition of Footsteps we consider what this means for farming, especially in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. We discuss the importance of farming with nature, and learn how farmers in Asia are making the most of their limited water resources. Other important strategies include tree regeneration, sustainable mechanisation and on-farm trials

The natural world is extraordinary, diverse and beautiful. Through it, God provides for our needs and the needs of every other living creature. As we gain a greater understanding of how everything fits together, we can adopt new, sustainable strategies alongside tried-and-tested techniques. This will allow us to improve agricultural productivity while at the same time protecting the environment on which we all depend.

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Image above: Joy in Nigeria grows different types of crops using sustainable agricultural techniques taught by Tearfund partner Rurcon. Photo: Tom Price/Tearfund

Footsteps articles

Cattle grazing bushes and trees produce less methane than animals grazing on grass. Photo: Andrew Philip/Tearfund

A new type of ranch

Allowing cows to graze high-protein trees and bushes benefits the animals, the farmers and the environment.

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‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… and God saw that it was good’ (Genesis 1:1, 9). Photo: Tom Price/Tearfund

Bible study: variety of life

God provides all that is needed for every living creature to thrive

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Children's zone: Enough land for everyone

Children's zone: beautiful world

An invitation for children to look more closely at God’s wonderful creation

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John reading his copy of Footsteps 20 with a Moringa tree in the background. Photo: John Medcraft

Community

Celebrating the Moringa tree!

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Once dry and barren, Meghawakhurd village is now green and the fields are productive. Photo: EFICOR

Every drop matters

Making the most of precious water resources in India

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Farmer managed natural regeneration centre pages image

Farmer-managed natural regeneration: steps to success

How to regenerate trees from living stumps, roots and seeds in the soil

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Maria has built stone banks to hold back rainwater and encourage it to soak into the soil, creating an area where she can grow many different types of trees and crops. Photo: Acervo Diaconia

Farming with nature

Supporting food production while restoring healthy ecosystems

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Photo of Rosemary Nyamu

Growing crops without soil: hydroponics

The advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic techniques

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Together Da, Leklek and Tui grow and rear most of their own food in a sustainable way. Photo: Farming as Mission

Interview: 'crazy little family'

Choosing to farm differently in Thailand

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Zero grazed goats in Rwanda provide milk, meat and valuable manure for the fields. Photo: Will Boase/Tearfund

Keeping the soil covered

How to balance the needs of crops, livestock and the environment

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Testing different levels of mulch in Ethiopia. Photo: Louise Thomas/Tearfund

On-farm trials

How to test new ideas and find solutions to problems

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Thanks to farmer-managed natural regeneration, this farmer in Malawi is now able to grow many different crops and trees, increasing his income and quality of life. Photo: Tony Rinaudo/World Vision Australia

Releasing the underground forest

Restoring unproductive land by encouraging native trees to grow and flourish

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Book shelves with books

Resources

A selection of books, websites and training materials for farmers and other land-users

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Purity Mgobo in Kenya with the jab planter she used to sow her maize crop. Photo: Saidi Mkomwa/ACT

Sustainable agricultural mechanisation

Options to reduce drudgery and protect the environment by using the right type of machinery

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Kibe Kifle in Ethiopia shows his faba bean and barley crops grown using conservation agriculture techniques. Photo: Neil Rowe-Miller

The future of farming

Farming in a sustainable way for a productive future

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