The United Methodist Apprentices, Jospeph Kaipa and Edward Nkhata, finished their 3-month stay at the Centre last Friday. This was the first phase of their 5-month training and they are now spending the next 2 months in Mchinji. The Centre held a going away lunch for both of them and it was clear from the words spoken around the table that we learned as much from them as they learned from us.
Their curriculum included water and soil management, grafting, compost making, and animal management; all of which, will be applied at their new position as consultants for the United Methodist Church farm in Mchinji. The Mchinji farm is 19 hectares with an office and small house on the property for the farm manager, Mr. Mahoney, and his family.
Eston and Molly drove the apprentices to the farm to meet the farm manager and his family and to start preparing for their stay on the farm. The farm is currently growing soy, maize, sweet potatoes, and cassava and is located in a fertile region with rainfed and irrigated areas, along with a wetland. It has great potential for the integration of animal husbandry and food forests.
In June, the Apprentices set up a pre-demonstration area on site that included the planting of banana trees in the borehole to capture waste water and intercropping soy and maize. The plan is for the farm to be a large demonstration of productive organic agriculture and permaculture principles in practice. We plan on continuing to visit and provide support within the next two months and will keep you updated on the progress
For more information about the Apprenticeship Program, please see our website here.