Cover Image
close this bookAmaranth to Zai Holes, Ideas for Growing Food under Difficult Conditions (ECHO, 1996, 397 p.)
close this folderECHO development notes: issue 53
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFifty-one issues of edn in one book!
View the documentPosition announcement.
View the documentThe nutritive value of chaya, one of the most productive green vegetables
View the documentSolar water disinfection
View the document''Why don't my tomatoes set fruit?''
View the documentInsights from a biogas project.
View the documentMalnutrition and child mortality
View the documentList of distance learning courses is available from ECHO.
View the documentFrom ECHO's seedbank
View the documentEchoes from our network
View the documentUpcoming events
View the documentBooks and other resources

Books and other resources

The Tropical Perennial Vegetable Series by Jay Ram and Nancy Glover features plants especially suited to lowland, moist conditions. Perennial vegetables require less care than annuals, and they provide a regular source of nutritious greens for home use; some also have commercial potential. This practical series gives the botany, ecology, uses and preparation, nutritional value, cultivation and management, propagation, pests and diseases, limitations, and sources for the vegetables. Even people already quite familiar with the vegetables will find the information useful. ECHO distributes seed or cuttings of many of the species. We recently found that even some of the more succulent plants can survive at least three weeks in the mail if old stem cuttings are taken.

The ten plants covered are chayote, perennial cucumber (ivy gourd), tree kale, sissoo spinach, katuk, moringa, okinawan spinach, celery stem taro, tropical lettuce, and chaya. These include several of the most promising and productive tropical vegetables, deserving a space in home gardens. The set of leaflets (36 pp. total) is available from ECHO: US$5.50 in N Amer; $6.50 in C/S Amer; $7.50 elsewhere.

Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Sustainable Cities (328 pp., from the Urban Agriculture Network and the United Nations Development Programme) examines factors which influence urban food production systems worldwide. This is the most comprehensive resource we have seen on this topic. One of the authors set out to promote urban farming, but soon realized that documenting existing activities would be a major task in itself. The book is researched thoroughly, includes many case studies and pictures, and gives great perspectives on the current status and potential of food and income production in the city. Topics include: history of urban agriculture (UA), different classes of urban farmers, spaces used for UA, organizations which influence UA, benefits, problems, constraints, and promoting urban agriculture through policy.

Here are a few of the insights excerpted from the book to give you an idea for the variety of its content. As an operational rule of thumb, "urban" is distinguished here as the agricultural product that gets to city markets or consumers the same day it is harvested. By the year 2000, 57% of the poor in developing countries will live in urban areas, up from about 33% in 1988. As many as 80% of the families in some smaller Asian and Siberian cities are engaged in agriculture. Hong Kong, the densest large city in the world, may produce within its boundaries two thirds of the poultry and close to half of the vegetables eaten by its citizens. Singapore is fully self- reliant in meat production. Recent migrants to the city have a difficult time putting together the resources necessary to grow and market their produce; they need time to adapt rural technologies to their new urban environment. The book is available from the Urban Agriculture network (see below) or UNDP, Urban Development Unit, DC1-2080, One United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA; fax 212/906-6471.

The Urban Agriculture Network has been active since 1992, and now has 3000 members in 40 (primarily developing) countries. Network staff wrote the above book. They have an information and technical referral service on UA, assist networking among groups who work in adjacent countries, sponsor regional workshops and newsletters, advise on UA policy, and support research of people doing graduate degrees related to UA. They have an extensive library in Washington, D.C., which network members may use during a visit. Contact Jac Smit (President) at 1711 Lamont St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20010, USA; phone 202/483-8130; fax 202/986-6732; e- mail 72144.3446@compuserve.com; http://www.cityfarmer.org.

Root Crops (380 pp.) by Daisy Kay is a handbook on 42 species. While ECHO's tropical root crop video (EDN 52-7) covers the major crops, this book also includes those of local importance. The cultivation conditions and planting procedures, details of harvesting, and descriptions of the products and processing are particularly helpful if the crops are new to your area. Nine species of yam (Dioscorea spp.) are individually described, along with many native Andean and Asian plants. The book costs œ15 including surface postage; make check payable to CAB International and send the order to Publications Distribution Office, NRI, Central Ave, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK. Ask for their excellent catalog if you have not seen it. NOTE: No charge is made for single copies of publications requested by government, educational, research, or non-profit organizations in countries eligible for British aid. Use your official title when writing.

Re-Entry: Making the Transition from Missions to Life at Home (150 pp.) by Peter Jordan, YWAM, 1992. Many of you in our network are missionaries. Hopefully you feel professionally fulfilled, life is interesting and full of meaning because of the important work you are doing, you are respected in the community, and in some cases you have never felt so close to God because of the marvelous things you see Him doing and the close fellowship with national workers and other missionaries.

When the day comes to leave this work and return to your home country, the re-entry can be devastating. Preparing for re-entry is a neglected area that I am convinced, after reading this book, should be given very serious attention by anyone about to return home. The author and his wife head YWAM Associates International, a ministry to the alumni of Youth With A Mission. This group involves large numbers of short-term missionaries, so they have had a lot of experience watching re-entries and the problems that can develop. They suggest things to evaluate in your situation, things to avoid, and steps to take. A few excerpts give the "flavor" of the book.

"Closure is the art of bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the passage of life through which we have just passed ... without carrying burdens of guilt or false expectations. [Failure to bring closure] means you will never truly leave the mission field behind ... it will thwart a positive re- entry experience...." "Instead of focusing on having to leave work unfinished, focus on whether it is God's will for you to leave."

Be sure conflict with fellow workers is not the reason you are leaving. "It is not necessarily wrong to be disappointed when expectations are not met. But it is wrong to let that ... fester into bitterness. ...it will be a stumbling block the rest of your life." "Set aside some time to assess what changes have occurred in your life during your absence from home. ...How do you think people back home are going to react to these changes in you?" "One change you will probably notice is much greater understanding and acceptance of people from other races and ethnic groups. ...it is easy to anticipate that there may be some conflicts back home ...."

Often missionaries have worked with Christians of many different doctrines and become more responsive to and accepting of other doctrinal points of view. "If you go home seeking to change the convictions of people in your church, you are likely to meet with a negative, even hostile response. So be wise in how you share things." "You may well have to overcome your own jealousy" as friends back home have prospered financially while you seem to have gone backward."

"One young lady wanted to speak in front of her whole church, but realized that the pastor was not comfortable [with this]." She sent him a "list of questions he might like to ask her in an interview, with a brief idea of the answers she would give. This worked out wonderfully."

The 150-page book sells for US$8. (The publisher is giving a quantity discount-$3.50; $2.80 if over 60-to mission agencies who order before Sept. 1, 1996.) For individual missionaries, the price of one copy will be $5 if you mention ECHO on your order, plus postage (for 1-2 books): N. Amer. $3; overseas surface $6/airmail $11. Make checks out to "YWAM Associates" and send to Peter Jordan at P.O. Box 2060, Point Roberts, WA 98281, USA; phone 604/274-9926; fax 604/271-5000; e- mail 103005,3043@compuserve.com.

Animal Traction training videos by Palabana in Zambia give a high-quality, thorough introduction to the use of oxen in draft power. There are six sections (about 20 minutes each): Training and Selection of Draft Animals (breaking, training exercises, general commands); Yoke making (detailed measurements and procedures); Riem, stroop, and halter making (clear close-ups demonstration using local materials); Plowing and weeding (furrow- making. Groups working in Africa should contact them first with details of their work; some discounts may be available.

If you work with animal traction, you should also know about Tillers International. Write for information on their courses and newsletter at 5239 South 24th St., Kalamazoo, MI 49002, USA; phone 616/344-3233; fax 616/385-2329.

THIS ISSUE is copyrighted 1996. Subscriptions are $10 per year ($5 for students). Persons working with small farmers or urban gardeners in the third world should request an application for a free subscription. Issues #1-51 (revised) are available in book form as Amaranth to Zai Holes: Ideas for Growing Food Under Difficult Conditions. Cost is US$29.95 plus postage; there is a discount for missionaries and development workers in developing countries (see page 1 of this issue). ECHO is a non-profit, Christian organization that helps you help the poor in the third world to grow food. Return to Index.

ECHO DEVELOPMENT NOTES - ISSUE # 53
17430 DURRANCE ROAD
NORTH FORT MYERS, FL 33917-2239 U.S.A.
PHONE 941/543-3246 FAX 941/543-5317
E-MAIL ECHO@xc.org