Melissa HessIn Bolpur and surrounding villages in West Bengal, India, rice is harvested in November. This 2012 crop is Meru Hansda’s first using System of Rice Intensification, a method taught by MCC partner Asansol Burdwan Seva Kendra (ABSK). Instead of scattering seed like before, farmers plant in rows and use one seed per hole. When seedlings don’t compete for space, they produce more rice. “There is a lot of change,” Hansda says. “This is the best way to cultivate." Melissa HessMarwar Orao throws a fishing net into one of five ponds built through an MCC-supported food-for-work project in India’s Jharkhand state. Ponds are vital for irrigation and can be used to raise fish, one more way that this MCC-supported effort of Mennonite Christian Service Fellowship of India, a service organization of Indian Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches, is helping to improve the lives of farmers. Melissa HessThrough an MCC project with ABSK, more than 50 families have established kitchen gardens, growing nutritious vegetables such as cabbage, eggplant and pumpkin. Bhim Hansda, a field worker for ABSK, and his wife Monica Hansda, a member of a local women’s group, stand in their kitchen garden in the village of Domdama. This project, which is supported through MCC’s account at the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, also trains farmers in worm composting and seed preservation. Melissa HessUsing sustainable and organic methods to combat pests and fertilize soil gives farmers an alternative to purchasing pesticides and fertilizers each growing season. MCC project officer Achinta Das shows an insect trap supplied by ABSK. Melissa HessDry rocky soil in the drought-prone Latehar district of India’s Jharkhand state makes it difficult to grow crops year-round. Indrajit Orao, right, and Marwar Orao show how water from ponds built through an MCC-supported food-for-work project now irrigate farmers’ fields. Melissa HessIn the Ranchi district of India’s Jharkhand state, Hira Mani Sanga (with husband Sunil Sanga, and daughters Sumitra, 7, and Nirmala, 14) holds radishes that she and her family grew on their land. Sanga and her family are part of an MCC-supported project of South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribals (SVWST) that includes training in kitchen gardens, horticulture and animal husbandry. Melissa HessIMCC partner South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribals (SVWST) helps communities to organize themselves to share resources, work together and participate in programs such as government-funded efforts for rural development. A first step is establishing a farmers’ group, women’s group and youth group in each village. Sapna Tirkey and her two-year-old daughter Swati join a women’s group meeting in Rurungkocha. Melissa HessThrough MCC’s partnership with SVWST, a women’s group in the village of Rurungkocha learned of a local government program that helped them begin to raise pigs, bringing new opportunity to group members such as Magdali Toppo, right, and Jacinta Tika. Indian farmers learn new techniques to increase rice yields, diversify crops, produce more food and cultivate community.