Harvesting Hope: Organic Farming Feeds Gudina’s Family

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Gudina and his wife in their family garden © Courtesy of Food for the Hungry

By Bedilu Asmare

Like most men in Sasiga, Ethiopia, Gudina farmed for a living. But he was facing a crisis he didn’t have the tools to overcome—year over year, he saw his harvests decline. The soil was depleted and simply could not produce what it used to. At the same time, fertilizer prices soared, and he could no longer afford to buy them, worsening his predicament.

A failing farm had real consequences.

“Low productivity of [my] farmlands affected my family as I could not feed them properly,” Gudina explained.

As the portions on their plates dwindled, malnutrition began to affect his children. Low production also caused decreasing income, as Gudina could no longer harvest enough from his crops to sell in the market.

The pressure he felt was immense. “Because of [our] low income, I could not support my children at school,” Gudina shared. “I was in a state of confusion on how to plan my future. I lived my life as a farmer—I couldn’t imagine [doing] any other work! I felt angry, restless, and a lack of hope.”

Gudina had no other options. So, when the opportunity arose in 2015 to attend a Food for the Hungry Ethiopia agriculture workshop with other farmers from the community, he jumped on it!

“I joined FH and learned organic compost preparation, vegetable and fruit production, and conservation agriculture.” Armed with new—and affordable!—growing techniques, Gudina got to work and had incredible results.

“I could reclaim my land that I was once hopeless about. With [these] practices, I could produce abundant food!” he exclaimed.

“I earned a remarkable harvest from [my] vegetable and maize farm over the last five years. This year alone, I earned [more] from just onions produced organically than my total earnings in the days I was struggling with chemical fertilizer.”

In addition to intensifying his farming, Gudina also took workshops on how to raise livestock, establish a private plant nursery, boost coffee production, and keep bees. These additional skills all provide income that’s helping him send his children back to school. The future is looking bright to Gudina: “I am hopeful that my children will have the chance to attend university and come back to support this community.”

And it’s not just their education that’s improving.

“I found that my family’s health improved after eating vegetables! My children are happy and healthy as we feed them fresh vegetables all year long.”

food for the hungry
Gudina and his family © Courtesy of Food For the Hungry

The community’s work ethic has shifted through capacity-building training in agriculture, health workshops, and savings groups. People used to see agriculture as a backward, “traditional” vocation, but now, like Gudina, it is a viable and vibrant livelihood. And where parents used to send their children to school long after the starting age, they now head to classes as soon as possible. “All these [old practices] are currently just memories,” Gudina remarked.

“The change in my life and in my community has made me hopeful that, with the skills we learned and with God, a better tomorrow awaits us.”

You can help more fathers like Gudina feed their families by giving a gift today at fhcanada.org/feeding-families

About Food for the Hungry:

Food for the Hungry cultivates community resilience so that children, families, and communities can thrive. Local FH staff collaborate with local leaders to bring to life their community’s vision of flourishing. With partnerships in 120 communities across seven countries in Asia, Africa, and Central America, FH works to identify the root causes of poverty. They fund emergency response to crises throughout the world and co-create solutions for a thriving future.

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Food for the Hungry cultivates community resilience so that children, families, and communities can thrive. Local FH staff collaborate with local leaders to bring to life their community’s vision of flourishing. Together, they identify root causes of their poverty and co-create solutions for a thriving future.

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