The 2016 Redeeming the Dirt Conference

RTD STD

Does God care how we farm?

Does the Bible promote good stewardship of the land or give us the freedom to use and abuse it?

Can Christian farmers be successful despite their beliefs, or because of them?

Could agriculture help us more effectively minister to the needs of others in our community?

Should Christians care about growing their own food?


Come find out at the 2016 Redeeming the Dirt Conference in Gadsden, Alabama!

Click HERE to Register!

-Adult Registration: $120 (includes lunch and supper Friday and Saturday)
-Child Registration:  $55.00 (12 and under, babies free, includes lunch and supper Friday and Saturday)

Join other Christian farmers, gardeners, and agrarians from around the country and world as we seek to learn how to better express our love for Jesus through the way we tend the land. The goal of this conference is to encourage, challenge, inspire, and equip followers of Jesus to impact our communities and nation through agriculture.

At the Redeeming the Dirt Conference we will seek to:

1. Encourage Christian farmers to recognize how faithful stewardship of the land can be part of making disciples of Jesus Christ and glorifying God.

2. Encourage those in Christian ministry to consider the power of modeling the Gospel and helping the poor through Jesus-centered agriculture.

3. Provide practical training and tools for more productive, sustainable, and beautiful gardens and farms! Get equipped to begin growing your own food in a way that is both sustainable and fruitful!

Speakers:

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Joel Salatin: Farmer, Author, Speaker.  Come hear well known Christian farmer Joel Salatin share about his new book, “The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation”. Discover the amazing productivity of production models that honor God’s design during Mr. Joel’s entertaining outdoor workshops. Learn more here.

Possible sessions:
CREATION CARE:  CORNERSTONE OF CHRISTIAN CREDIBILITY
Fruitful Farms and Families: Getting started in God-glorifying food production.
Pasture Choreography: Using rotational grazing for healthy, happy animal production.

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Brian Oldreive: Founder of Foundations for Farming. Hear from this amazing man whose incredible farming practices and heart for the poor have helped thousands all over Africa feed themselves and come out of poverty! Be challenged by his amazing testimony that ranges from being an award winning farmer and manager of the second largest farm in Africa to losing everything he owned twice and pouring out his life for the poorest of the poor to show them the love of Jesus. Learn more.

Possible Sessions:
The Story of Foundations for Farming: How following Jesus turned a failing farm into one of the most profitable ones in Africa and ended up blessing the poor.-Abundant, Low-tech Food Production: Brian will share how a few simple principles God revealed to him has allowed thousands of farmers to begin making a profit on their farms.
Farming and the Poor: As we look to address problems with our food system now and in the future Brian shares the importance of making a plan for the poor.

Nick Ferguson

Nick Ferguson, Homesteader and Consultant: In his own words he is a “Christian, father of 2 boys, husband to the most wonderful woman on planet earth 3rd Generation agricultural consultant Gardener since I was 8 years old PRI Certified Permaculture Designer.” He is also host of the Homegrown Liberty Podcast.

Possible Session:
Christian Permaculture: What is permaculture, how should we view it as Christians, and what are some practical ways that it can help us be better stewards of our farms and homesteads?
Low-Cost Homesteading: How to grow your own food with creative solutions that won’t break the bank!
Simple Plant Propagation: Save thousands of dollars by starting your own trees and bushes from cuttings!

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Noah Sanders: Farmer, Author. I will be at the conference to share about my farming story and how God is teaching us to do everything to the Glory of God! Hear practical stories about learning how to run a farm, raise a family, and serve those around us. Learn more.

Possible Sessions:
Farming for Jesus: A radical look at how following Jesus can impact the way we view farming.
-Agriculture That Changes Lives: How we can use agriculture to bring hope to those around us. We will look at the lives of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver and see what we can learn from them that can apply to us today.

 

Save the Date! October 7th and 8th are the dates of the 2016 Redeeming the Dirt Conference.

Where is the Conference? The conference will be held at Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Gadsden, Alabama.

Click here to learn more about the Schedule for the conference!

Click here to learn more about Accommodations and Meals!

SOLD OUT! Learn More at the In-Depth Training! An optional in-depth training for those interested in being equipped as trainers in Christ-centered agriculture will be held on the 9th-11th at the Rora Valley Farms Training Station in Goodwater, Alabama.

Eat Lunch with Joel Salatin! You can also register for a special fund-raising lunch with Joel Salatin to help with the I Was Hungry Campaign for helping the poor come out of poverty. Just choose this option during registration.

We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting event!

Click HERE to Register!

What you will learn:tj201310012142-3.jpg
-The importance of agriculture in the Kingdom of God
-The impact a Christian worldview has on agriculture.
-How we can use agriculture to minister to others, both physically and spiritually.
-How God is using Christ-centered agriculture in Africa to change people’s lives, and how He can do the same in the United States.
-Examples of simple, proven agricultural methods that honor God’s design in Creation.
tj201309251534-2.jpg
img_1054What you will do:
-Fellowship with other people from around the country and world who are passionate about Jesus and tending His land.
-Practice putting in a small garden plot without expensive machinery!
-Build a compost pile that produces a low-cost, quality, all-natural fertilizer
-Pray for and receive prayer from other farmers.
-Come up with an action plan for how you will use agriculture to impact your community.
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Recent Posts

The Danger of Cultivating a Victim Mentality as Farmers

Underpaid. Overworked. Undervalued. These descriptions have almost become synonymous with farming. There is a degree of truth in these words. In the U.S. the average farm income earned by farm households is estimated to be -$1,093 (off-farm jobs keep them afloat). The debt and lack of support community has resulted in suicide rates among farmers being higher even than those of military veterans. And just this morning I was reading about the farm bill and how farm groups were concerned about cuts in the subsidies farmers receive from the government.

But we must guard against feeling victimized as farmers. For many of us farmers much of the appeal of our profession has to do with the feeling of freedom, independence, heritage and self-reliance that comes from making a living off the land. Whatever our motivations, somewhere along the line we can fall prey to a victim mentality that robs us of our freedom and the abundance God has given us.

Agricultural Cynicism

As farmers it’s easy to become cynical. We can slip into thinking that our woes are all due to things that are out of our control; the weather, the government, the markets, the price of fertilizer, fuel, etc. At times we can become known for complaining, stinginess, and pride (just listen to the conversations at the feed store!).

I don’t think any of us farmers want to be cynics, but after so many failures and disappointments cynicism can become a self defense mechanism against future disappointment. Understandable, but the danger is that we begin to identify ourselves as victims/martyrs who are dutifully growing food for the ungrateful masses of the world. It’s easy to no longer feel responsible for the lack of profit or the poor land stewardship on our farms. As victims we no longer see ourselves as part of the problem, or the possible solution.

A Perspective of Scarcity

To be sure, farming has always been a risky undertaking involving things out of our control. Or at least the risk is more visible and tangible than in some professions. But perhaps we as farmers have adopted a scarcity mindset that doesn’t reflect a trust in the abundant nature of our Creator. This can cause us to see the world around us from a more limited perspective than is true in reality. Consider the following statements that might be heard among farmers today.

1. “You’ve got to get big or get out.”

2. “There ain’t no money in farming”

3. “People don’t appreciate all the work that goes into growing the food they eat.”

4. “Young people today just aren’t interested in farming.”

5. “The government needs to help farmers so that people don’t starve!”

These statements are all based on things we have experienced or seen. But the problem is that they reflect a mindset of scarcity and victimization. With a victim mentality we look at situations fatalistically, not really thinking that there are things we could change about our mindset and heart that might make a difference. We think it all has to do with lack of available resources.

God’s Promise of Provision

But the truth is the God has promised to be our provider and will always provide us what we need to accomplish the good works (including farming!) that he has given us to do. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” This truth can give us a different lens to see our situation through. Here’s an example of how we might look at the situations mentioned above in a different light.

1. Growing commodities for the wholesale market may require large infrastructure, but there are other business opportunities for those with more limited resources!
God calls us to be faithful with what we have, and if he calls us to farm he can give us wisdom to use the resources available to creatively produce good food for people. There are many examples today of small, even micro-scale farms that are very profitable. Jean Martin Fortier and Curtis Stone are some examples of profitable micro-farmers.

2. Making a good live from a profitable farming may not be easy, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
Merely growing food doesn’t guarantee profitability, same as any other business. Just because some people can run a restaurant and lose money doesn’t mean the restaurant business can’t be profitable. If God has called us to farm he can show us how to run a profitable business. We must be willing to grow and adjust our production and marketing models to best serve people with the food they need and want.

3. Many people don’t realize what it takes to produce their food, so we should take opportunities to connect with the people who eat our products!
Most people are not as appreciative of the work that goes into growing their food, but the same could be said about the work that goes into producing most things people rely on everyday. It’s mainly due to the disconnect we have because of the large-scale, wholesale, non-relational model of our economy. So who can blame consumers? If we as farmers want more appreciation all we have to do is work to build relationships with those who actually eat the food we produce.

4. Not many young people are getting into farming, so there’s an opportunity to find ways to make farming more attractive and teach young people to value what farming offers!
Farming doesn’t seem a top priority for many young people, but when what farming offers (fulfilling work, simple living, etc.) is not what our culture is teaching kids to value should we be surprised? Even with that there are many young people interested in farming (John Deere makes a lot of money selling farm-theme toys) but they end up being discouraged from pursuing it by the ‘scarcity’ mentality of those who are in farming. As scarcity-minded farmers we don’t normally offer many attractive opportunities to younger people due to a felt-need to ‘hold-on’ to and protect what we’ve got. Generosity and abundance is attractive, stinginess and scarcity are not. If we sow generously to the younger generation, we will reap generously.

5. God has given us more resources than we can realize as farmers in our land, family, and community, and we should never have the need to rely on government handouts!
Of course this doesn’t mean that God’s plan for us doesn’t sometimes include going out of business. But even when he allows that we can trust that it is for our ultimate good. We do need farmers, but we need good farmers, and no farm operation is so sacred that we have a duty to prop it up when it continues to prove financially unviable. Unprofitability should be an indication of the need for adjustments to farming systems, management and marketing. We as farmers should definitely help each other get through hard times. But we aren’t entitled to succeed, and getting bailed out by government subsidies can actually hurt us by not forcing us to make needed changes. The government does not always have a good track record for motivating us to run profitable farms. They end up both paying farmers for unprofitable crops and paying farmers to grow no crops at all!

Living in Light of God’s Character

The truth of the matter is that God is our provider, helper, and teacher. As farmers when we live with a mindset of scarcity, entitlement and victimization then we are not living in light of the truth of who God is. We are not living gratefully or generously. God has promised to give us abundance where we can live generously towards our families and those around us. Let’s ask Him to change our hearts and beliefs so that we can begin breaking free from the lies that hold us back and become farmers who reflect the character of God to the world around us.

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