Self sufficiency

After much planning, hard work, some failures and some successes, Jomp’s Farm is starting to bear fruit.  The pigs are breeding well and this month there are three more sows pregnant, thanks to the big papa pig who is well fed and cared for. With the farm staff and the boys who live in the Gary and Janet Smith House, a pig a week is slaughtered for food for all the children’s houses. Not a trotter or an organ is wasted and the meat is stored in freezers to feed the children. Chickens on the farm are also being used for meat and a batch of them are slaughtered every two weeks. In the school holidays the younger boys from Sarnelli House learnt how to pluck the feathers from the chickens and to help prepare them for eating.  Duck eggs are being collected regularly and these boost the protein intake of the children. 

In the bakery, Sister Dominic’s project is continuing. With a team of four interested teenage girls from Nazareth House and one house mother they are focusing on improving their skills in making cakes, muffins and cookies. These are commissioned for the birthdays of visiting guests, for afternoon snacks on the weekends as well as supplying sweets for the big parties in the Mary and Joseph Hall or at local church festivities. 

The design and making of costume jewelry continues at Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls at Vienghuk, as well crocheting bags and small souvenirs to sell overseas and locally to guests. 

The mushroom houses located near three of the children’s houses are proving to be a huge success. The children take responsibility for watering them daily and picking the ripe mushrooms when they have grown. Even with the appetites of the growing children at Sarnelli House, there is a surplus of mushrooms, and the girls at Vienghuk bag them up and walk door to door to sell them in the village. The money they make goes back to buy more mushroom spores for growing.    

The fish ponds are teeming with fish and before the rainy season in June the ponds are fished out and drained to be restocked again when they are full with rain water.  
Keeping cows is also producing results, starting with 4 cows and 1 bull, and thanks to generous donors buying us more cows, we now have seventeen. The young bulls that are born are eventually sold for $US 1000 / bull, and that money is put back into the farm. In the, dry hot months the boys have to go far and wide to find and cut fresh green grass for the cows to eat.  

Collecting cow, pig and chicken manure, turning it over and adding organic material to it weekly has it ready for the pellet making machine after about 3 months. This job is done by the older boys every week and when the organic pellets are made and packed into bags they are ready to be plowed into the rice paddies to improve the soil before planting rice every year.  

As well as the teenage boys who help on the farm in the holidays and on Saturdays in the school term, there are three families employed to live on the two farm sites. They manage the livestock, making organic fertiliser and the rice planting and harvesting.  Jomp’s Farm is a testament to Fr Shea’s farming background and to the hard work of all the staff and the boys. Working towards self sufficiency is helping to reduce costs, teaching the young adults new learning new skills and  improving the children’s health by having them eat fresh organic food.   

May 2015