Sustainability at Grace House India
Grace House has started working toward becoming a self-sustaining property. We now are raising our own chickens for fresh eggs daily and are tending large gardens full of vegetables and fruits. We are also allowing a local farmer to farm for lentils on the Grace House land in exchange for splitting the crop with us. India can be a feast-or-famine place at times and water is a precious commodity that we can’t afford to exhaust. We now have four water wells and storage capacity to ensure we don’t run out.
Stacey and I feel strongly about helping Grace House to become self-sustaining for several reasons. Being able to provide all of the necessary staple items grown on the property, free from any chemicals or contamination, is healthier and also saves a considerable amount of money.
These children need a well-balanced diet full of fresh vegetables, fruit and, most importantly, protein. When they are asked to go and study all day at school and then spend time in the evenings with homework and tutoring, they must be alert and have the energy necessary to accomplish all of this. We have been very fortunate to have a donor who specializes in nutrition and has served around the world, working with children, to help design a well-thought-out food plan to fulfill the required levels of nutrition for our girls.
Future plans are exciting and we definitely will need help with them. We are now starting to build and plant raised beds that will be utilized both during the growing season and during the monsoon season. India is tough because of the weather. During the dry season, when most of the farming is coming to a close, we can switch to the raised beds and start planting for the fall without losing everything due to heavy rains and washouts.
The long-term expansion of the farm will be adding aquaponic farming. This will allow us to raise fresh vegetables and fruit in a large greenhouse, with plants suspended in circulating tanks of water that are filled with fish. The great thing about aquaponics is that it enables us to raise produce but also have protein (the fish) available to use in meals. And the entire process is self-sustaining; the plants filter the water for the fish and the cycle never ends.
Stacey and I would love to have you join us in any of the upcoming projects either by donating to a specific project or just by coming to Grace House India and getting your hands a little dirty.