In search of Food Security and Sustainable Income
Two bags of grain: a parable
Two families were each given a bag of grain so they would have food to eat.
One family cooked all the grain and ate it because the donor organisation said they were starting a feeding program in their community and would provide another bag of grain the next day. The other family was grateful for the grain but also realised that this help may not last forever so they cooked and ate half of the grain and decided to plant the remainder.
Vulnerable members of a neighbouring community were also experiencing malnutrition. They approached the donor org and asked if they could be included in the feeding program. The organisation, however, replied that they did not have enough resources to help them as well. Members of this neighbouring community then approached the family that had planted a garden and asked if they could have some of the grain to plant as well.
After several months the donor org ran out of money and so the grain distribution program was stopped.
On hearing this news the community was very distressed because they had become dependent on the grain distribution program as their main source of food.
The donor org was pleased with their efforts because they measured the impact of the grain distribution programme by how many people had been fed by their handouts. Their impressive results would have told a different story, however, if they had measured the impact of their efforts by what remained after their program ceased and the beneficiaries returned to their initial state of hunger!
The family that planted a garden with the grain were busy harvesting their crops. They used excess grain to feed their chickens. Their children ate eggs daily and there were even some left over to sell from time to time. They joined with the neighbouring community who also planted gardens and formed a food co-operative to market any excess.
The moral of the story: It takes time, effort & expertise to cultivate a productive garden which will provide food security and sustainable income.