Photo courtesy of Cal Zehr

Maiga Muga, from Tanzania, ready to plant seedlings at Hungry World Farm, Tiskilwa, IL

Seeking the well-being of all, Hungry World Farm (HWF) inspires and educates people about healthy fields, food, and bodies while caring for the Earth. Behind our mission statement are the 7.6 billion people of our earth. We all hunger. We hunger for food, meaningful relationships and deep spiritual meaning. Our mission resonates with the MCC and IVEP mission in many ways. The whole “IVEP experience” creates partnerships of growth for the IVEPer, our organization, and congregation.  

Many interactions occur in the day-to-day activities of HWF We use the farm as a textbook for healthy, sustainable food production. Individuals and communities are empowered to strengthen local food systems and to reflect on their own consumption and systemic impact on the environment. Maiga Muga, from Tanzania, is receiving training in diversified, small-scale agriculture aimed toward healthy soils, people, and ecosystems. Along with Maiga, we hear the call toward an agriculture that respects and honors the complex relationships of humans with the community of the soil and the earth. The challenge remains to do what we can together to share this with the world. Stephan Rauh, HWF Lead Produce Farmer, responds, “Maiga and I share a passion for healthy soils, and it continues to be particularly satisfying learning together about soils. We both look forward to future opportunities to inspire others toward greater appreciation and respect for soils and to share with them about practical care for soils in the context of agriculture. This shared passion makes our shared learning and working all the more enjoyable!” As coworkers and co-learners together at Hungry World Farm, Maiga’s participation adds significantly to the richness of the experience here at our demonstration and learning farm. Whether HWF staff, volunteers, fellow interns, visitors, or anyone in between, Maiga’s engagement adds rich layers to our collective learning.    

The partnership with MCC and the IVEP program enhances the learning. MCC has created a path with local country/region reps and church leaders, the application process, selection, and assessments to bring young adults who are ready to engage in our learning together. Maiga is ready to learn and grow. So, we learn and grow too.  Maiga helps us imagine life and agriculture in Tanzania. Maiga’s love of learning and teaching positions him particularly well to be a great member of our team. As he learns and teaches with us, his participation enlivens our explorations, observations, and conversations here at the farm. As with other IVEPers, Maiga contributes more than he even knows toward the HWF vision.

The IVEP experience starts long before the IVEPer ever arrives to the farm. HWF links with the MCC staff in laying out plans for the placement. Plans are created that we imagine, and hope will be significant for anyone but particularly an international guest. We link with the Willow Springs Mennonite Church board to explore congregational engagement with the IVEPer, especially with the hosting roles for the term. So, the IVEP partnership extends through the host family and participation in the congregational life of Willow Springs Mennonite Church, HWF and MCC, through their staff. We at HWF realize the experiences as an organization partnering with MCC and IVEP reach into the IVEPer’s community and background to engage with us here in Illinois. Partnerships together in the whole “IVEP experience” create a context of growth for the IVEPer, our organization, and the Willow Springs congregation. These partnerships assist the expansion of the HWF mission to inspire and educate people about healthy fields, food, and bodies while caring for the Earth. 

Cal Zehr, Director, Hungry World Farm, Tiskilwa, IL