Saturday, 15 July 2006

Treat the Earth Well.

Nanga Mady Kaye, Univ of Nebraska, 202 KCR, Lincoln, NE 68583-0817

A dying grandmother struggled to reach for the soil at the foot of her bed. She called for her youngest son. When he came to her side, she took his hands and rubbed them with the soil. With her last breath she uttered these words: “treat the earth well.” That young man was my grandfather. He lived his entire life in reverence of the earth and inculcated in his children a love of the land and the life it sustains. Today much more is needed in Chad than just a love for the land if we are to rescue that country from the creeping claws of the Sahara desert. Soil degradation and loss of biodiversity have had alarming effects on Chadian society. For three years an agricultural initiative called Oasis of Grace has worked to raise the sense of commitment to rebuilding healthy soils and combating poverty in southern Chad. A 30-acre farm design based on biointensive principles is bringing hope to a depressed region. The objectives of this presentation are to (i) engage in a cultural and scientific dialogue with the past, gleaning from the ancient wisdom regarding treatment of soil and its inhabitants, (ii) discuss the impact of advocacy and practical tools used in soil reclamation, and (iii) examine agro-ecological factors and their impact on food security in Chad.

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